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  • Writer's pictureRachel Smith

Top 5 Empowering Female Entrepreneurs

Photo Courtesy of Wix

Happy Women’s History Month! Now more than ever, we get to celebrate the women who inspire us to chase our dreams and make them a reality. Here’s a list of five empowering female entrepreneurs who took charge and made it happen.

1. Rihanna

It’s no secret that Rihanna has taken the world by storm in recent years. You probably know her as the popstar who rose to fame in the early 2000s, but it was her decision to venture into the cosmetics industry that took her to billionaire status. Fenty Beauty was immediately met with success after it launched in 2017, praised for its inclusive shade ranges and high-quality products. In 2018, her lingerie brand Savage x Fenty was met with similar success thanks to its diverse sizing and featured models. At 35, Rihanna has not only proven that she is a genius businesswoman, but that brands can be inclusive without sacrificing quality.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

2. Kiran Mazumdar-Shawn

Originally founding Biocon in a rented out shed, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw turned the biopharmaceutical company into one of the most successful global firms in the industry today. She is now the second wealthiest self-made woman in India, known for smashing through gender barriers in the field and making Biocon the most affluent biopharma entity in India. She proves time and time again that with persistence, any glass ceiling can be shattered.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

3. Zhou Qunfei

Whether you’re Team Samsung or Team Apple, if you’re using a smartphone, you’re probably using a Lens Technology touchscreen. Zhou Qunfei launched Lens Technology after years of tireless work in a watch lens factory to support her education and her family. Her dedication paid off, and today she is the richest self-made female entrepreneur in the world. She reminds all hardworking women to never give up, stating, “I have encountered many difficulties and setbacks as an entrepreneur. If I gave up then, there wouldn’t have been Zhou Qunfei or Lens Technology.”

Photo courtesy of CNBC

4. Katrina Lake

If you’re a fellow subscription box fanatic, you’ve probably heard of Stitch Fix. What you may not know is the story of the company’s founder, Katrina Lake. In the midst of earning a master’s degree from Harvard, Lake created her personalized fashion service at 28-years-old. After having the idea rejected numerous times, she set out to do it herself, curating and sending each box single-handedly. Today, she is recognized on Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

5. Irma Olguin Jr.

Irma Olguin Jr. was once a first-generation college student with a dream. She is now the CEO of Bitwise Industries, a company focused on teaching code to those not typically given the opportunity, such as veterans and individuals with criminal records. The company is currently valued at over $600 million, and Olguin shares her story as a reminder to live in the moment, remarking, “How does a girl from the descendant of Mexican immigrants whose family grew up in the fields end up here?... It wasn’t a plan someone had for me, but instead these accidental moments that put me on a completely different path so that I get to live the life that I lead today.”

Photo courtesy of TED

It's easy to get stuck in a “it will never happen for me” mindset. But each of these powerful female entrepreneurs kept pushing and growing and thriving – you can too. Use this month to get inspired by the empowering women around you and take that first step towards making it happen.

Rachel Rebecca Smith is a graduate student at James Madison University. After earning a BA in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication at JMU, she decided to return to the program for her Master’s. She will graduate with her MA in WRTC this May.

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