Off the top of your head, how many CEOs or founders of famous companies can you name? Of those you remembered, how many were female? In celebration of International Women’s Day today on March 8th, we are highlighting some of the leading female entrepreneurs across the globe so you can be what you can see.
1. Julia Hartz
Julia Hartz is co-founder of event booking monolith Eventbrite and has recently taken the reins of CEO. Julia Hartz co-founded Eventbrite with her husband and CTO Renaud Visage 10 years ago. San Francisco-based Eventbrite powers more than 2 million events a year, and has processed over $5 billion in gross tickets sales since it was launched a decade ago.
2. Cher Wang
Wang is a Taiwanese entrepreneur and philanthropist, who in 1997 co-founded HTC and is considered one of the most powerful women in the world of tech. HTC began manufacturing notebook computers, but progressed into developing some of the world’s first touch screen and wireless devices, and in 2016 expanded into the realm of virtual reality hardware. Wang is also the acting chair of VIA Technologies, and routinely makes donations to universities and foundations.
3. Weili Dai
Dai is a Chinese-born American entrepreneur who, in 1995, co-founded the Marvell Technology Group – one of the top semiconductor companies in the world. Having received numerous awards and commendations for her leadership and influence, Dai also passionately promotes the involvement of women in STEM.
4. Melanie Perkins
With more than 10 million users across 179 countries, Canva has allowed people of any skillset to create compelling designs and is becoming a major disruptor across all industries as the need for workplaces to communicate visually increases. Melanie Perkins says the idea for Canva was born back in her university days around 10 years ago, but a chance meeting with venture capitalist Bill gave the business the kick-start it needed.
5. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Mazumdar is an Indian Founder and CEO of biotechnology company Biocon Limited. After studying biology and zoology at University, Mazumdar pursued further study in fermentation science and eventually earned the degree of master brewer! In her efforts to establish Biocon India, Mazumdar faced discrimination due to her gender and age, but her determination saw her succeed. Today she continues to run Biocon, as well as establishing a multitude of charitable and philanthropic causes.
6. Sara Blakely
Blakely is an American entrepreneur who has achieved world-wide fame with her apparel company Spanx. In her early career, Blakley wore many hats which included working for Disney World, moonlighting as a stand-up comedian and selling fax-machines door to door. She came up with the idea for Spanx after cutting up a pair of her and admiring the slimming effect it had. Blakely wrote her own patent for the idea and eventually the product was launched to huge success.
7. Jo Burston
Burston is an Australian serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, CEO and author. Having founded the successful migration firm Job Capital in 2006, Burston was motivated to show that being a business owner and founder is not just for men! In 2014 Burston founded her company Inspiring Rare Birds, which seeks to foster female entrepreneurship and has a global vision of one million women in its community by 2020. Most recently, Burston has co-founded the Phronesis Academy, providing online startup programs for students ages 14-17.
7. Folorunsho Alakija
Alakija is a Nigerian businesswoman and is known as one of the richest black women in the world. Working first as an executive secretary and then at a bank, Alakija founded a tailoring company called Supreme Stitches which became highly popular in a matter of years. From fashion, Alakija moved on to oil and founded her second company Famfa Limited in 1993. Today, Alakija continues in her role as Group Managing Director, while also managing her charitable Rose of Sharon Foundation and serving as Chief Matron of Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs.
8. Sarina Russo
Russo is an Italian-born Australian entrepreneur who is the Founder and managing Director of The Sarina Russo Group. Starting out as a legal secretary and typing teacher, Russo launched the first iteration of her business in 1979. From there, the Sarina Russo Group has grown to include recruitment, apprenticeships, business school, investments and even a not-for-profit Global Initiative arm.
10. Reshma Saujani
Saujani is an American lawyer, politician and entrepreneur who in 2012 founded the tech organisation Girls Who Can Code. Through her non-profit company, Saujani seeks to close the gender gap in tech by increasing the number of women in computer science. The idea came to her during her run for US Congress after noticing the lack of girls in computer science classrooms. Today, the company’s sponsors include AOL, Google and Microsoft.