5 Businesses You Didn’t Know Were Started By Women

It’s hard to not take note of the rising number of women business owners in the United States.

Did you know that the number of women entrepreneurs has grown by 67 percent over the past decade?

And as women continue to outnumber men in most colleges throughout the country, it’s safe to say that the number of women owned businesses will only continue to grow.

According to the latest stats, there are more than 9.1 million women owned businesses in the United States.

Some of your favorite brands are likely women owned businesses whether you realize it or not.

With that in mind, here are 5 successful women owned businesses that are sure to offer some inspiration:


Anyone in the professional world is familiar with this popular presentation-sharing platform.

Woman entrepreneur Rashmi Sinha co-founded SlideShare in 2006 with CTO Jonathan Boutelle, and the business quickly became a top destination for professional content.

Due to the nature of the type of content found on SlideShare, it was a natural fit for the company to join the LinkedIn family in 2012.

It should be noted that SlideShare was not Sinha’s first rodeo.

Prior to founding SlideShare, she co-founded a company called Uzanto, and she launched another company called MindCanvas just a year after launching SlideShare.

She is a woman on the move with a great passion for web technology.


Communications giant Cisco was founded by Sandra Lerner and her former husband, Len Lerner, back in 1984 as they had a strong desire to improve communications.

Lerner left Cisco in 1990 with $170 million from her share of the business, but her entrepreneurial spirit lived on as she founded the cosmetics company Urban Decay and still operates today a certified organic and humane farm.


This photo-sharing website was founded by Caterina Fake in 2002 at just the ripe age of 35.

Interestingly enough, Flickr is actually an offshoot of a game that she was developing with her former husband, Stewart Butterfield.

While the game was a flop, the photo-sharing technology was a huge success, earning Fake and Butterfield $35 million in cash and stock options when they sold Flickr to Yahoo in 2005.

Like many of the other women business owners that we’ve mentioned here, Fake didn’t just stop with Flickr.

She went on to co-found a popular recommendation-making website called Hunch, and she also serves on the board of directors for the online handmade marketplace known as Etsy.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Back in 1965, Ruth Fertel ventured away from her background as a horse trainer and purchased a restaurant called Chris Steak House in New Orleans.

A fire destroyed the restaurant in 1976, which caused her to open the restaurant in a new location and in a new name: Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

At this same time, she also agreed to franchise the restaurant, and there are now more than 130 Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations around the globe.

Fertal passed away in 2002 at the age of 75, and she sold the majority interest of her company to private equity firm Madison Dearborn for an undisclosed amount.

Liquid Paper

Former executive secretary Bette Nesmith Graham came up with this brilliant idea in the 1950s as she often used white water-based tempera paint and a thin paintbrush to mask typing errors.

The company was originally called Mistake Out, but the name later changed to Liquid Paper once she patented this must-have office product.

She sold the company in 1979 for $47.5 million, and she unfortunately passed away 6 months later.

This is just a small glimpse of the millions of successful women owned businesses that we encounter everyday.

If you’re feeling inspired by these exemplary entrepreneurs, we encourage you to check out our list of 11 entrepreneur blogs that will change your life in 2015