Get inspired by the story of 9 successful female entrepreneurs
For a long time, the business world was dominated by men. While society waited for women to stay at home and take care of their children and husband, they had free passes – privileges and women’s support – to undertake. Women entrepreneurs simply did not exist in our society.
But the game, fortunately, turned. Increasingly, female figures have gained prominence when it comes to business. They are enterprising women, with inspiring stories, who have fought and still struggle to transform their dreams into profitable and successful businesses. In common, they have enough determination and have invested heavily in the professionalization of their products and services to conquer the market.
Walking paths marked by hard work and the search for knowledge, they are examples for other women and their trajectories are full of valuable teachings. To inspire you, we have made a selection of 9 women entrepreneurs here. It is easy to see that they are as common as they are incredible, just like you!
Ana Lúcia Fontes
Working for 17 years as an executive of a large company, she made a courageous decision that has already crossed the minds of several women: she resigned from her stable job to find another way to make her happy.
Ana allowed herself a season to dedicate to her family and even tried again to find a job in another company. However, she came to the conclusion that it was time to create her first business.
And it was during a training course for women entrepreneurs, the 10,000 Women, that Ana realized that she was not the only one with difficulties in entrepreneurship. From her concern came the idea: in 2010, she created the Mulher Empreendedora Network, a virtual space dedicated to female entrepreneurship.
Gathering news, information, tips and discussions on the theme, the network acts uniting and supporting women entrepreneurs from all over Brazil, already surpassing the mark of 36 thousand registrations on the site.
Heloísa Assis, known as Zica, is another example of how daily experience itself can be a trigger for entrepreneurship. The carioca, who never runs away from her job and has already worked as a nanny and maid, was dissatisfied with the products available in the market for her curly threads and made the difficulty her business.
Zica invested in a hairdressing course in order to create her own successful formula to maintain the hair in a natural way. And she succeeded: in a short time, she managed to attract the attention of the closest people to her creation.
In 1993, with three other partners, she opened her first salon, the Natural Beauty Institute, specialized in the care of curly and wavy hair using products of her own production.
The news spread, the clients arrived in weight, they were fidelized and Zica got to contribute for the self-esteem of several women that didn’t feel contemplated by the cosmetic industry.
Currently, the business has expanded and counts with more then 40 addresses spread over several states of the country. So much success made Zica be included on the list of the ten most powerful businesswomen of Brazil, according to the North American magazine Forbes.
Graduated in Economics, Isabelle Delorenzo worked for more than 15 years in the financial area before deciding to set up her own business. In one of her jobs, she met her future husband and partner, with whom she exchanged recipes for cakes and sweets unpretentiously.
But the pleasures became an opportunity. The couple joined their savings to undertake and Isabella resigned from her job to devote herself entirely to the business. With this amount, they invested in specializations and training courses in the United States in order to unveil the art of brownie and learn about marketing focused on gastronomy.
When she returned to Brazil, in 2009, she founded The Brownie Shop, a pioneering e-commerce specializing in the sale of handcrafted brownies. The choice for the virtual store meant savings in the initial investment, since Isabella did not have to bear the expenses of setting up a physical store.
Little by little, with good logistics and management strategies, the entrepreneur managed to overcome the distrust of the public and sales allowed her to set up a studio to sell the groceries. Today, The Brownie Shop has four physical addresses and Isabella is an example of how a virtual business can expand.
Mary Kay Ash
Not only of national inspirations is our list made. After all, there are foreign women entrepreneurs with outstanding trajectories and unquestionable success. One of the most expressive examples comes from the United States, more precisely from Texas: Mary Kay Ash.
Born in 1918 into a non-rich family, she married at the age of 17 and then had three children. During World War II, when her husband went to fight in confrontation, she unfolded in various roles to support her family by working as a door-to-door book seller.
When her partner returned, the couple divorced and Mary started working for Stanley Home Products, dedicating 25 years of her life to her. Seeing a younger and less qualified man, who she herself had trained, being promoted in her place, she decided to leave the company.
After writing a book to help women succeed in the job market, Mary realized that she had put together a complete business plan. Then, in 1963, she decided to risk all her savings (US$ 5 thousand) to start a business on the cosmetic branch.
Yes, she is the one who founded the famous and successful Mary Kay, which today sells products in more
The French Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, born in 1777, became known in history as the “widow Clicquot” or the “great lady of Champagne”.
Married to François Clicquot, she always showed interest in the family business and found in her husband a professor of knowledge about grapes, fermentation and transportation of goods.
When François died in 1805, she took charge of the business. Until then, the company was divided between banking, wool trade and beverage manufacturing, but it was under her tutelage that the company began to focus solely on the production of champagne.
Barbe-Nicole is, thus, the name that consolidated Veuve Clicquot, a distinctive beverage recognized worldwide.
Dulia de Melo
Who says women can’t venture into the world of science? Duília de Melo is a good example that they can do it… and with excellence!
She has come a long way with her studies: she graduated in astronomy from UFRJ – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and did a master’s degree at INPE – National Institute of Space Research, in São Paulo.
He also did his doctorate at USP – University of São Paulo, post-doctoral studies at the Inter-American Observatory of Cerro Tololo, in Chile, and studied at the National Observatory of Rio de Janeiro.
All this dedication has borne good fruit: today, Duília is an associate researcher at NASA and professor at an important university in the United States, the CUA – Catholic University of America, in Portuguese. Throughout her memorable career, she has participated in important discoveries and launched a book, Living with the Stars, in which she narrates her trajectory.
Luiza Helena Trajano
We’re talking about no one else, no one less than the creator of the famous Magazine Luiza chain of stores.
From a merchant family, everything indicates that she inherited her aunt’s entrepreneurship and her mother’s emotional intelligence. When she was only 12 years old, she worked in commerce to collect money and buy Christmas presents for friends and family. That’s how she learned her first steps in the business world.
Years later, as an adult, she was not afraid to dare: would you have the courage to change the name and strategies of a business already consolidated by previous generations of your family?
That’s what she did: and so one of the largest retail chains in the country, Magazine Luiza, emerged.
If successful women entrepreneurs are already, by themselves, admirable figures, what about those who also help other women to enter the world of entrepreneurship? This is the case of Camila Farani. Currently, she is president of Gávea Angels, one of the most important angel investor groups in Brazil.
Camila also participated in the foundation of Lab22, a famous boutique of start-ups and the MIA (Mulheres Investidoras-Anjo), from which she has mentored more than 500 women who dreamed of entrepreneurship. In addition, she is a lawyer, post-graduated in Marketing and professor at FGV, a true example of strength and overcoming.
A few decades ago, who could have imagined a financial service without the interference of banking institutions that could be used freely by mobile phones? Cristina Junqueira contributed to make this possibility a reality: she is the co-founder of Nubank.
Cristina graduated in Production Engineering from USP (University of São Paulo) and quickly consolidated a successful executive career. However, she dreamt a little more than that, she wanted to innovate, to create something really relevant.
It was then that, in 2013, he decided to resign even without having anything in mind. And his courage to take risks worked: shortly after, he helped found Nubank.
In addition to his taste for challenges, another striking feature of his personality is the appreciation of diversity. She believes that different people can exchange ideas that lead to real progress. It’s no coincidence that her company has employees from all over the world, including a strong presence of women and people from the LGBT community.
As can be seen, there are many potential women entrepreneurs, who only need a stimulus to put their ideas into practice. Empowering them brings benefits to society in general, since they can contribute a lot with their innovations.