On March 8, we at getGFTD celebrated International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Each year the IWD Community dedicates a theme to the day. For 2024, the theme is #InspireInclusion in a world to forge gender equality. The month of March is Women’s History Month which encourages the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. As a certified women-owned business from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), getGFTD is passionate about providing women with opportunities to work for a startup.

Today, women-owned businesses actively contribute to our growing economy. Since 1972, this number has increased by over 3000%. Part of this is due to the 1988 passing of H.R. 5050, allowing women to take out business loans in their names. The US Census Bureau estimates that women-owned businesses collectively retain 10.9 million employees and contribute $432.1 billion in annual payroll in 2021. 21.4% of US-based employer businesses are women-owned and the number is growing. Feed your curiosity with these seven iconic women-founded and owned businesses. 

  1. Started as a digital magazine that empowers women in the art world, Eliza Ali founded Art She Says in 2019. Presenting luxury content, exhibitions, art advisory, and exclusive networking events, Ali has curated a special website for women interested in the art world and makes it accessible via the Internet, something new and needed. With an escape into the Mediterranean, “Weekend Journal” was formed, a nostalgic, humor-oriented website. With a focus on art, brunch, travel, and leisure, the articles are written under feminist and current rhetoric lenses. Ali offers advice to women starting their businesses: “Block the noise. Forge your own path. Don’t be afraid to proudly tell people who you are and what you’re doing. Stay passionate, trust yourself, and never give up. The right people will notice.”
  2. Beloved graphic design website, Canva began with a passion for developing a design platform that did not require any technical expertise from people, and a mother-daughter dream to revolutionize yearbook creation. Founder, Melanie Perkins, grew her “crazy, big dream” into a site with 100 million monthly users with 8 billion projects created since 2013. Canva exemplifies entrepreneurial excellence, serves as an inspiration for aspiring female leaders in the tech industry, and showcases innovative achievements.
  3. BioNTech SE, a woman-cofounded biotechnology company led by Dr. Ugur Sahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci, strides in the field of mRNA technology. Their pioneering work led to groundbreaking achievements, like the development of the COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with Pfizer. By leveraging their expertise and vision, BioNTech pushes the boundaries of science, with a commitment to advancing the frontiers of medical research and improving patient outcomes on a global scale.
  4. Julie Wainwright founded The RealReal after a friend purchased items from the consignment rack of a luxury name-brand store, forever alternating her perspective of shopping secondhand. Forging into the online shopping market, there was a gap in online shopping that preserves and authenticates luxury brands, ultimately removing barriers to consignment. For her, the hardest part was raising capital, something male venture capitalists don’t think much of. In seven months, she took the business from an idea to giving it a name, registering the business, raising capital, and designating a warehouse and office space. She encourages women they “cannot be afraid of failure – that fear will fetter anyone from taking the risks required to move forward.”
  5. Moving behind her advertising career, Lynda Resnick purchased farmland in California with her husband and launched her own business selling agricultural products. Known as The Wonderful Company, a global enterprise hosts a diverse range of high quality, healthy products/brands, like Wonderful Pistachios, Pom Wonderful, and FIJI Water. Coined the “Pom Queen,” she made pomegranate juice a national sensation. In addition to driving business with powerful and dynamic marketing campaigns, she is dedicated to philanthropic endeavors, like health and wellness programs for employees. In discussing her role as a business owner and philanthropist, she states “The hard part is rolling up your sleeves and doing the work to make real change yourself.”
  6. With $1,500 to her name in 1978, Janice Bryant Howroyd created ActOne Group. She entered the business frame in high school where she missed representation of entrepreneurs, eventually building her own company and moving forward as a female entrepreneur she wished her younger self knew. Now, ActOne Group has blossomed with 17,000 clients, 2,600 global employees, use of 50 languages, and operations in 33 countries as a workforce management group for mid-market and government agencies. ActOne remains the largest, privately held, minority-woman-owned American company.  Bryant Howroyd shares her advice for success: “Humans of any age or gender: never compromise who you are personally to become who you wish to be professionally.”
  7. Julia Hartz launched Eventbrite in 2008 as a way to streamline the promotion of local events while reducing costs for creators, increasing reach, and boosting sales. In 2011 the company earned $50 million, established a UK office in 2012, entered the New York Stock Exchange in 2018, and has powered four million experiences by 2020. She identifies work ethic, connection to personal roots, and the power of entrepreneurship, as tools for lasting success.

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