When it comes to entrepreneurs, women have been under-represented for far too long. The founders in this article have taken a flash of inspiration or a lifelong dream and created a business, and they’re paving the way for others to follow.
Businesses run by women are more likely to tackle social and environmental issues and are also more likely to unlock opportunities to stabilize the economy. Yet female-led startups currently receive only 2.7% of global venture capital. These five women are beating the odds and each, in her own way, rewriting the rule book on success.
Founder of Huckletree
As one of London’s original co-working spaces, Huckletree has seen its fair share of startups – and supported them. From FinTech to SaaS, Gabriela and her team have been able to witness some amazing innovations as well as some stunning failures. In fact, Gabriela can pinpoint a habit most failed entrepreneurs have in common – overstating growth potential and profits. Now with hubs across the UK and Ireland, Huckletree not only builds physical workspaces for teams, but it also helps guide businesses as they scale-up through education programmes, and providing access to valuable investor and talent networks.
Founder of B_ND, SHREDDY, and TALA
Grace’s business accolades include being listed in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Europe and being named NatWest’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Focused on fitness, Grace’s first company was B_ND vegan-friendly resistance bands, which continues to dominate the market. SHREDDY, her workout and meal plan app, offers algorithmically generated goals that fit user lifestyles. Then along came TALA, activewear made from 92% reused materials like plastic bottles and factory offcuts. By finding gaps in the market and honing concepts and ideas, Grace has taken idea-stage startups to market-disrupting businesses all before reaching her mid-20s.
Founder of Hiptipico
Inspired by experiences with non-profit companies and extensive travel around the world, Alyssa recognised how difficult it is for marginalised communities to escape poverty. After encountering a Mayan artisan named Maria in Panajachel, Guatemala, Alyssa was inspired to launch Hiptipico in 2012. Hiptipico is an ethical fashion brand based in Panajachel that showcases handcrafted creations made from high-quality, sustainable materials. Still personally run by Alyssa, she dedicates herself to spending quality time with the artisans she represents and gets to know them on a personal level. Alyssa also offers ethical travel opportunities for bloggers, fashion students, and brands to come and learn about indigenous culture and artisanship.
Founder of CURL, Stylindi
Nana Addison has founded two companies focused on the beauty market, specifically for those with dark skin. Nana, who identifies as an “Afropean,” was born in Ghana and raised in Germany. She is the founder of CURL, which is the creative agency that hosts CURL CON, a cultural, beauty, and hair convention in Germany for those with darker skin tones. Stylindi is a booking and shopping platform for independent hair and beauty retailers and aims to be the number one service in Europe.
Founder of TeachKloud
Ireland-based Wendy spotted a gap in the market for child educators to reduce their paperwork and spend more time doing what they’re meant to do – teach. With a Ph.D. in early childhood education, Wendy had the background and skills to found EdTech company TeachKloud, which is in scale-up mode in the UK and US. A cloud-based platform, teachers access TeachKloud from any web browser and use it to streamline administration and communication with parents. TeachKloud is expected to earn €215.78 by the 2025.