11 facts about women-run businesses that prove the future really is female.
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The New York Times made headlines a few years ago with a shocking statistic: Among CEOs of big U.S. companies, there were more men named John than there were women ... period.

In 2017, female executives are still rare — too rare. Though we like to think we've come a long way since "Mad Men"-era sexism in the workplace, studies like these remind us that in many ways, the glass ceiling is still firmly in place for female business owners and executives. And it's not just the Fortune 500 that has an equality problem; companies of every size still suffer a serious lack of female leadership. Among corporations and small businesses alike, women make up just a small percentage of executives and owners. But increasingly, women who've experienced professional roadblocks in the corporate world are leaving to do things their way, by starting businesses of their own.

Danielle Vogel is one woman who’s helping to break the glass ceiling of small business.

She knows just how many obstacles women encounter in businesses of every size because she's encountered them all herself. Vogel left behind a 10-year career on Capitol Hill and put everything she had into her entrepreneurial pursuits — and it paid off. Today she's the sole owner of Glen's Garden Market, a locally-sourced independent grocery store.


We headed down to the market to talk to her firsthand about life as a female entrepreneur:

People are constantly surprised that this grocery is run by a woman. Female business leaders being treated as equals is long overdue.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Even after achieving success, Vogel still encounters people who can't comprehend that she's the full-time CEO of an independent grocery store that employs 95 people.

Why? "Because it's an extremely atypical thing for a woman to do," she says.

The good news is that women like Vogel are helping pave the way for many more women to own and run businesses. Here are 11 encouraging signs that the future — of business, anyway — really is female.

1. Business isn't a boys' club anymore — and young female entrepreneurs are succeeding because of it.

One reason men have historically had more small-business success is that they could tap into an existing network of other male entrepreneurs. Thankfully, the balance is beginning to shift: There are now more than 9.9 million firms in the United States owned by women.

Photo via iStock.

2. Today's female entrepreneurs have access to a growing population of mentors.

When it comes to mentoring women, men may exhibit "Reluctant Male Syndrome" — an amalgam of implicit biases that prevent them from forming professional relationships with the opposite sex. Now that we're seeing an increase in female leadership, we're also seeing an increase in young women who benefit from it.

Vogel is already contributing to the effort. “We’ve launched 65 local food businesses,” she says in the video. “35 are owned by women.”

3. Women-owned businesses are growing five times faster than the national average.

According to Womenable’s 2016 “State of Women-Owned Businesses in the U.S.” report, the number of women-owned firms has increased by 45% since 2007, while the overall national increase remained at just 9%.

4. And, internationally, women make up approximately one-third of all entrepreneurs worldwide.

Photo via iStock.

5. African-American women have become the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States.

Their numbers grew 322% between 1997 and 2015. #BlackGirlMagic pulls a serious profit!

6. An estimated 340,000 jobs were created by businesses owned by women between 2007 and 2015.

During that same time period, the number of jobs at companies not owned by women actually shrank.

7. Nearly 7.9 million people are employed by U.S. businesses that are owned by women.

Just one of many benefits that we all enjoy when more women are given the space to succeed in business.

8. Women entrepreneurs in the U.S. rank their own happiness at nearly three times that of women who are not entrepreneurs or business owners.

Any path a woman chooses can be rewarding — be it family life, a traditional career, or something else altogether. But with business ownership looking increasingly appealing, we can expect that more women will choose an entrepreneurial path.

via iStock.

9. In 2015, 18% of all startups had at least one female founder.

That's an astronomical number compared to the Fortune 500, where only 4% of CEOs are women.

10. Women are better at writing crowdsourcing campaigns — and they raise more money because of it.

In traditional face-to-face fundraising scenarios, women have a much more difficult time getting investors than men do — and that's been a major obstacle to entrepreneurship for women. The arrival of platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo has cleared the way for some businesses that otherwise might not have gotten off the ground.

11. Women start companies with an average of 50% less capital than men do. So some cities and states are sponsoring resources to provide women with more access to investment capital.

Nashville, Chattanooga, and Memphis, Tennessee, appear at the top of WalletHub's list of friendliest cities for female entrepreneurs, thanks in part to the large number of resources they make available to them. But they're not alone — lots of cities in the U.S. offer entrepreneurship grants and programs for women, and some even have dedicated business centers for women to work and network.

via iStock.

All around the world, more and more smart businesspeople are investing in female entrepreneurs.

There are now grants, programs, and accelerators dedicated to helping women access resources that historically were only available to men.

Many of those programs are supported by female CEOs, like Vogel, who feel strongly that it's important to help other women reach the success that they've had themselves. And that's great news for everyone else: With all of the jobs, revenue, and innovation that women bring to the corporate sphere, everyone benefits from a world with more women at the helm.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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