Women Entrepreneurs; Success in a Male Dominated Niche

Revolutionizing the home, beauty and clothing industries, to name a few, empowered women worldwide are building million dollar companies, shattering the glass ceiling that once suppressed them. Entrepreneurship, like many other business professions, has continued to be a male dominated niche. While breaking into this niche is anything but easy, women worldwide are finding that the payoff can be rewarding. According to the new State of Women-Owned Businesses, an overview of business activity trend in women’s businesses ownership from the past 15 years, American women are starting about 550 new businesses a day! In 2011 alone, American women opened more than 200,000 new enterprises and women-owned multi-million dollar firms reached an all time high. Groups such as Ladies Who Launch and Wild Women Entrepreneurs are among many women entrepreneurial networking sites that have flourished in recent years.

With all the progress women entrepreneurs have made, we thought it’s time to celebrate by paying our respects to some one-of-a-kind women. Here are some women entrepreneurs that have shaken-up the male-dominated niche.

  • Oprah Winfrey @oprah Winfrey has become a household name around the globe. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” catapulted Winfrey into a life of entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Born into poverty, Winfrey climbed from the bottom up to become America’s most beloved entrepreneur. It’s her can-do attitude and driven spirit that made Winfrey the legend she is today.

“Playing small doesn’t serve me. The truth is, I want millions of people. I’m not one of those people who says, ‘Oh, if I change just one person’s life … Nope, not satisfied with just a few. I want millions of people!”

  • Martha Stewart @MarthaStewart Former model and stockbroker Martha Stewart created a multimillion dollar industry out of her passion for fine-cuisine and decorating. Steward started her own catering company in ’73 that bloomed into a million dollars industry within the decade. Within no time, Stewart authored her first book Martha Stewart’s Entertaining and became the spokesperson and designed for a new line of Kmart linens and tableware. Further down the line, she took ownership of her magazine Martha Stewart’s Living and launched her hit TV show, “The Martha Stewart Show.” Today, Stewart continues to expand her multi-billion dollar empire making her one of the most successful entrepreneurs of recent generations.

“I think people who have a real entrepreneurial spirit, who can face difficulties and overcome them, should absolutely follow their desires. It makes for a much more interesting life.”

  • Anita Roddick Roddick turned her garage-based business into one of the world’s most successful retailers of cosmetics. While her husband was on an extended trip, Roddick began creating cosmetics out of material she found in her garage. In 1984, only a few years later, The Body Shop went public and franchise stores began emerging around England. Today, there are more than 1,980 stores worldwide spanning 50 different markets. Roddick was also an avid social activist. The late entrepreneur donated $1.8 million to the Amnesty International’s School for Activism.

“An entrepreneur is very enthusiastic and dances to a different drum beat, but never considers success as something which equates to personally wealth.”

  • Photo from wowellie.comRachael Ray @rachael_ray This multi-million dollar Food Network superstar has been labeled a modern Martha Stewart. Ray began much like Winfrey with her show 30-Minute Meals. Her guide to quick and simple meals paved the road for her five Food Network television programs, monthly magazine and 19 published cookbooks. In addition to her media success, Ray recently launched a line of cookware that can be purchased at stores nationwide. Ray shared this advice one being a successful entrepreneur.

“Whatever it is that you’re successful at, that has to be the No. 1 goal. In my case, it is accessibility; so all of my products have to be usable, accessible and affordable.”

While entrepreneurship may still be a male dominated field, women entrepreneurs the world over have proven that they’re here to stay.

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