Millions of businesses are female owned and operated across the world and their financial impact on the international economy tops just over €2.5 trillion.
Many of the world’s most powerful female entrepreneurs came from humble beginnings; they were a one woman operation, working diligently out of their home office and gradually worked their way up to building multi-million pound international firms.
Here’s a list of the top five picks for 2014…
Today, Tory Burch is considered the queen of bohemian chic, having a total net worth of over £775 million. Burch had a dream, and decided to go big from the start. Her first design was a pair of ballerina flats she named after her mother, Reva. That first pair of shoes started a revolution, and eventually Burch began offering them in every imaginable color for £158.50 a piece. Today, she has a complete fashion line, fragrance collection, and has just signed a deal with Fossil to design bohemian-style watches. After finding success, Burch decided it was time to give back, partnering her Tory Burch Foundation with Bank of America to provide “early-stage women entrepreneurs with low-cost capital and help growing their business.”
Faulkner started to write code for software in 1979. Since that first set of code over 35 years ago, her company, Epic Systems, has made her a billionaire. Epic is still a privately held company and is responsible for developing the most advanced healthcare system management programs currently available in the U.S. In 2014, Epic announced it would be partnering up with Apple, which will allow users to share health information with doctors using a biometrics-based app on their handheld device.
Blakley’s shaping underwear, Spanx, made her a billionaire in six months at the ripe old age of 29. Blakely started her company with just a few thousand euros and a great idea, which Oprah Winfrey just happened to take notice of. Once Winfrey featured Blakely’s underwear on her top ten list, Spanx was officially put on the map, garnering over €198 million in annual revenues.
Today, Alakija is officially Africa’s richest female entrepreneur, having a net worth of about £2 billion. She began her career in London while studying to become a fashion designer. When she returned to her home in Nigeria, she began working as a secretary and in her off time started her own tailoring company, Supreme Stitches. After being called upon to do some tailoring work for former first lady Maryam Babandiga, she was quickly rose to fame. In 1993, she secured her oil prospecting license and founded Famfa Oil, which today provides 200,000 barrels of oil a day. With her hard found riches, Alakija started the Rose of Sharon Foundation which works to aid women and orphans in Africa.
Every entrepreneur needs back-up. It takes much more than an excellent concept to dominate the market. Having suppliers you can count on, warehouse logistics that meet shipping and receiving demands, and working capital to keep your business operations moving fluidly are some of the most important issues to consider when expanding.
The key to these women’s success is their drive, passion for what they do, and ability to work out even the finest details. Keeping it together during expansion depends on your ability to adapt to your situation and having partners you can rely on when the going gets tough.
By Ashley Andrews