This year has undoubtedly been the best yet for female entrepreneurs. According to research from American Express OPEN Forum, women are starting an average of 1,200 businesses a day – up from 740 a day the year prior. The growth of women-owned firms continues to outpace the national average, plus they now lead growth in eight of the top 13 industries. On top of that, ladies are dominating the crowdfunding space, regularly outperforming their male counterparts.
As we dive into 2015, there’s no shortage of bold, brave and brilliant female entrepreneurs to watch and learn from. Who will rise to the top in 2015? Here are 15 women we’ll be watching:
Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams, co-founders of In Good Company.
Picture a community that enables women to work, meet and learn together. That’s In Good Company, in a nutshell. The startup offers part-time and full-time office space for its members, in addition to hosting regular classes and workshops to empower and educate female entrepreneurs. Through it, co-founders Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams have created a unique business center for women business owners to connect and access what they need for success.
Angelia Trindad, founder, CEO and designer at Passion Planner.
It’s no surprise that a woman who dedicates her time to helping people pursue “that thing that makes them excited to get up everyday” has caught our attention. Angelia Trindad initially created Passion Planner – a portable life coach, organizer and daily dose of inspiration, all within the pages of a planner – in 2013. Two wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns later, she shipped more than 2,000 Passion Planners in just 20 days and will continue to help transform the habits of thousands in years to come.
Amber Venz Box, president and co-founder of rewardStyle and LikeToKnow.It.
Fashionistas rejoice! No more lusting over your favorite fashion bloggers’ #ootd photos, thanks to Amber Venz Box. Her latest startup, LikeToKnow.It, made Instagram shoppable last year with more than 5,000 sign ups in its first week. The cherry on top? Amber also drove more than $150 million in retail sales through her first startup, rewardStyle.
Bridget Hilton, founder of LSTN Headphones.
Plenty of people take for granted the ability to listen to their favorite songs, or even hear their own voices. But what about the 360 million people worldwide with disabling hearing loss? That notion is what led Bridget Hilton to create LSTN, a social entrepreneurship that donates hearing aids to children overseas for each set of headphones they sell. The startup has already been able to help 19,000 people in the U.S., Peru, Kenya, Uganda, China and Sri Lanka. In 2015, they’ll continue to expand into new international markets.
Carolyn Pugh, co-founder and COO, VirtualU.
If you thought being named “most likely to succeed” in your high school year book was impressive, consider this: Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology named Carolyn Pugh “most likely to build Virginia’s next generation of life science, technology, and energy companies.” In 2015, she’ll debut the first 3D scanner for fitness to help people see how their body changes as they workout and lose weight.
Carrie Hammer, founder of Carrie Hammer.
Carrie Hammer and her groundbreaking approach to women’s business fashion took New York Fashion Week by storm last September with Role Models, Not Runway Models, a runway campaign featuring executives and professional women of all different sizes and abilities, including a quadruple amputee. She’s planning to team up with these talented ladies again in 2015, collaborating with PopExpert to further inspire confidence.
Erica Nicole, founder and CEO of YFS Magazine.
A serial entrepreneur, syndicated columnist and dedicated philanthropist, Erica Nicole knows a thing or two about being young, fabulous and self-employed. Through YFS Magazine, she and her team deliver a Fortune 500 perspective on entrepreneurship, with a hint of pop culture mixed in. Already one of the largest and most influential independent startup and small business news sites, the magazine’s impact will continue to expand this year, especially with Erica behind the wheel.
Jeanie Han, CEO of Line.
If 2014 was the year of WhatsApp, 2015 will be the year of Line. The messaging app has 570 million registered users and counting (just 30 million behind its counterpart) and is working on partnerships with brands and celebrities to offer exclusive content through the app. When Taylor Swift signs on, you know you’re on to something big.
Kit Hickey, co-founder of Ministry of Supply.
Ministry of Supply’s products are out of this world – literally, as they’ve mixed NASA materials and technology to create quality men’s clothing that provides superior temperature regulation. Rumor has CEO Kit Hickey and the team will be opening brick-and-mortar stores sometime in 2015.
Laura Costantini, president and CEO of Prima-temp.
With a world-class development team and more than $2 million in funding, Prima-Temp’s technology has the power to help individuals better manage their health, using its core body temperature detection capabilities to help with things like fertility, disease detection, weight loss, sleep disorders and chemotherapy monitoring. In 2015, they’ll be introducing their latest, most innovative product to date, a fertility awareness sensor.
Rachel Shechtman, founder of STORY.
Think of STORY as fashion magazine meets art gallery meets retail store. Every few months, the Manhattan-based shop opens with a new theme, complete with new layout, new merchandise and everything in between. The revolutionary concept hit its stride in 2014, winning Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award.
Stephanie Parker, co-founder of Sleeping Baby.
Stephanie Parker and her husband had tried every product on the market to help their daughter, who had recently outgrown her swaddle, fall and stay asleep. When nothing else worked, she took matters into her own hands. The unique pajama suit she created eventually became known as Zipadee-Zip, Sleeping Baby’s first product. Now, what started as a desperate solution to help her daughter sleep is set to gross over $1 million.
Theodora Koullias, co-founder of Jon Lou.
Jon Lou’s 314 handbag, the design for which Theodora has been working on since 2011, can charge any USB-enabled device, plus lights up to help wearers find interior items. (Bonus: It’s TSA approved.) As smart as the product may be, Theodora has been even smarter, waiting to launch it until wearable technology went mainstream.
Theresa Krier, founder of Big T NYC.
According to the U.S. Tea Association’s state of the industry report, more than half of the population now drinks tea on a regular basis. Add that high-end tea sales continue to increase, and Big T NYC’s Theresa Krier is well poised to go mainstream in 2015. Her “couture” tea business, which started back stage at New York Fashion Week in 2013, has already expanded to select gourmet grocery stores and coffee shops.
Vivienne Harr, chief inspiration officer at Stand.
When a 10-year-old entrepreneur partners with Biz Stone to launch a mobile platform designed to spur social change, you watch. Vivienne Harr has come a long way since selling lemonade to fight human trafficking; and if she’s already accomplished so much, who knows what’s possible next.