American Business Women’s Day
Over the last two decades, the number of women who have entered the field of entrepreneurship and business has increased considerably. Many female owned companies have emerged and are contributing to the global economy and their surrounding communities. According to the 2012 U.S Census Bureau’s Survey of small business owners, women owned businesses represent a stunning 36% of all businesses, up from 30% in 2007.
American Business Women’s Day is an official, national holiday celebrated all over the world that not only commemorates the day the American Business Women’s Association was founded in 1949,but also celebrates and recognises the significant contributions and accomplishments of the millions of women in the workforce and the millions of women business owners in the U.S. and throughout the world.
At Mitra Innovation, we are big on entrepreneurship! We love entrepreneurs and innovation and we spend a great deal of time assisting entrepreneurs to launch their innovative products and services on the market through our product/service incubation services and our unique start-up kit programme. We’d love to work with more female entrepreneurs and business owners and therefore to observe and appreciate women on this special day, we’ve taken a brief look at three of America’s most successful and inspirational business women and entrepreneurs.
Sarah Blakely is the founder of Spanx, an American intimate apparel company specialising in body shaping undergarments. Blakely’s openness to failure helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America. She started off selling fax machines door-to-door before she came up with the idea for Spanx, the body-shaping underwear that has become a global sensation.Blakely’s success came mainly from her ability to redefine the definition of failure in such a way that allowed her tounderstand that failure is not an outcome, but entails a lack of trying — not stretching yourself far enough out of your comfort zone and striving to be more than you were the day before. Focusing on failing big /not being afraid to fail is a key part of the success of Spanx.In 2012, Blakely was named in Time magazine’s ‘Time 100’annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and named the 93rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2014.
Arianna Huffington founded The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that rapidly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. She also recently launched Thrive Global,a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform which aims to change the way we work and live. Like Blakely, Huffington also sees failure as a steppingstone to success because it providesthe courage and wisdom to take on even greater challenges. More importantly, Arianna believes that the key to success is taking time to relax.She is a huge advocate of sleep, which her company practices through the creation of designated nap rooms for employees to take breaks in, even if they’re on the clock. The ability to unplugfrom a hectic pace is what has made Huffington and her businesses so successful. In 2009, Huffington was ranked number 12 in Forbe’s first-ever list of the Most Influential Women in Media. She has moved up to number 42 in The Guardian’s ‘Top 100 in Media List’ and as of 2014 was listed by Forbes as the ‘52nd Most Powerful Woman in the World’.
Sheila Lirio Marcelo
Sheila Lirio Marcelo is the founder and CEO of Care.com, the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care, with more than 20.7 million members across 18 countries. Marcelo’s passion for technology and her appreciation for its power to solve real problems led her first to Upromise, where she was VP of Product Management and Marketing for the service that helped families save for college. She then moved to the executive search engine company, TheLadders.com, where she was VP and General Manager. She finally became an Entrepreneur in Residence at Matrix Partners where the plan for Care.com was developed.
Marcelo has been honoured with several titles over the years which include one of the ‘Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs’ at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit (2009) and Fortune Magazine (2014).She is the youngest recipient of the lifetime award by HBS – the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award (2014), and was granted one of the highest honors for Filipinos, the Filipino Heritage Award or Pamana ng Pilipino from President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines.Sheila is also a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute (Class of 2012), was awarded a Marshall Memorial Fellowship (Class of 2011), and named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (Class of 2011).
These are all women to be admired for their drive, tenacity, innovation and passion, and who should be celebrated on American Business Women’s Day.
At Mitra Innovation we feel it is important to acknowledge the accomplishments of women in business because women often face certain challenges which are not typically shared by their male counterparts. Some of these include limited access to funding, defying social expectations, building a support network, balancing business and family life, and coping with the fear of failure. So let us take a moment to celebrate all working women for what they do/have done for our families, for the economy and for future generations.