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Female Entrepreneurs in Austin Who are Crushing It (And How They Got There)

Business opportunities are booming for Austin’s female entrepreneurs. The state has been ranked (repeatedly) as the best in the nation for startup businesses.

A favorable tax structure, a youthful population and an emphasis on sharing (as opposed to competing) are just a few reasons why Austin now outranks Silicon Valley as the top American city for startups.

The best part? This fertile landscape is inclusive and supportive of female entrepreneurs and startups.

The economic growth rate of women-owned businesses in Austin is simply outstanding. There is also a myriad of communities and programs explicitly dedicated to Austin’s female entrepreneurs.

Several highly successful female-owned businesses started in Austin, Texas.

Kendra Scott 

Kendra Scott is a fashion designer whose startup jewellery business, Kendra Scott, LLC, has earned her a net worth of over $500M. She is one of the wealthiest self-made women in America who started out as a creative entrepreneur.

As a single mom, at the age of 28, she used $500 in capital to start making jewellery from her home in Austin. She made her first sales from her hat shop and then moved onto selling wholesale.

After the recession in 2009, Scott had a vision of setting up her own physical store in Austin so that she could interact with, and sell directly to, her customers. With the help of friends (and Texas Capital Bank), she opened her first store.

She found her niche by creating affordable items that kept to her unique, identifiable aesthetic. Scott values her customers’ individual preferences and developed in-store Color Bars so that they could customize their own colors.

Today she has over 1000 stores and boutiques all over the world. Her modern designer brand is valued at over $1 billion.

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Katie Fang

Katie Fang is the founder-CEO of SchooLinks. She was included in Forbes’ Top 30 under 30 in 2018 as well as the Top Texans Under 30 in 2016.

Fang received a Bachelor in Commerce from the University of British Columbia in 2013. In 2015 she founded SchooLinks in Austin, Texas.

Her business, SchooLinks, is a college and career readiness platform that prepares students for what comes after graduation.

Fang created SchooLinks as a website where scholars and parents could browse various college options. But she soon realized that she could offer so much more to her community. Fang expanded the available tools on SchooLinks and improved the services they offer.

Today she says her biggest reward is hearing that her platform helped someone. Her goal: to make an impact on the world. She claims her motivation comes from inside of her, and her colleagues admire her relentless drive to get things done.

Shannon Grainger smiling confidently on stage

Shannon Grainger

Shannon Grainger is one of the founders of BigImpactHQ, based in Austin, TX – a boutique consulting company which specialises in helping female entrepreneurs monetize their messaging and convert leads from the stage.

In 2009, Grainger started hosting “Prosperity Summit” Seminars. To date, she has hosted over 1100 events, working with industry-leading speakers to financially empower over 900 women.

She has dedicated 12 years to researching Feminine Leadership and Women’s Studies. Her goal has always been to inspire and teach women how to use their own, authentic voices to be effective and productive leaders.

Shannon founded BigImpactHQ™ with her husband, Mark, in 2014. Together, they have developed courses and seminars that have “trained over 3000 women leaders in the art and science of feminine influence and persuasion”.

If you love speaking but are struggling to persuade your audience to take action then Big Impact University is here to help you generate a flood of clients.

BigImpactHQ™ works with you to build a world-class brand and perfect your messaging so that it resonates with your audience and compels them to take the action that you want every time.

Shannon says, “As your business grows… so must your leadership. Without the right team and ability to lead them you can never reach your potential or fulfill your calling.” 

Mark and Shannon have assisted multiple 6-figure women leaders and women-owned business owners to generated over 51 million dollars in revenue using their “Speak Your Path To Cash” and “Team Breakthrough” services. 

If you’re ready to stop spinning your wheels and start focusing on the areas of your business that you love, then start working with Shannon to convert more clients.

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Thai Lee

Thai Lee was born in Thailand in 1958 and went to school in America. She was the first Korean woman to graduate with an MBA from Harvard Business school in 1985.

She went on to become the CEO, co-owner and president of one of the largest women-owned businesses in the USA, SHI International. Today her net worth is listed on Forbes as $4.1B, and her tech business, SHI International, is the most significant Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise in the United States. 

Lee always intended to be an entrepreneur and at the age of 31 she got her chance. She gained her experience working at Procter & Gamble and American Express and then bought a software-only regional reseller for less than $1 million in 1989.

Lee grew her business organically, with a heavy focus on her experienced and stable sales force, whom she values as much as her clients.

SHI is known for its excellent customer service, which stands it apart from its competitors. They provide custom IT solutions (software and hardware) to individuals, corporations and the academic sector.

Today, SHI is one of the top 15 tech companies in the USA. It has also been listed on Forbes as one of the Best Employers for Women 2020. 

Whitney Wolfe Herd

In 2021, at the age of 31, Whitney Wolfe Herd became the youngest female self-made billionaire in the world. She is the co-founder and CEO of a global social dating app called Bumble, which is based in Austin, Texas.

After working on several environmental and social projects, Wolfe Herd joined the Hatch Labs IAC incubator that led her, eventually, to become the marketing director of an incredibly successful online dating app: Tinder.

However, because of sexual harassment in the workplace, Wolfe Herd left the company in 2014. She then successfully sued Tinder for $1M and stock in the company.

She credits her life experience with toxic relationships and misogyny in the tech community as being behind her decision to create a female-friendly social platform.

She founded Bumble in 2014 in Austin, Texas. Soon after, Wolfe Herd joined forces with her partner Andrey Andreev, the owner of Badoo (another dating app), and by 2017 Bumble had over 22 million registered users.

Bumble was designed to give women control in the online dating space. It also functions as a friend-finding platform and has even developed a portal for businesses to network.

In 2020 Wolfe Herd became the first woman ever to take a company public. 

Lisa Su

Lisa Tzwu-Fang Su was born in 1969 in Taiwan and immigrated to America as a child. Dr Su grew up to become the president and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Her net worth on Forbes is currently $530M, and in 2020, she was listed 2nd on Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year list – with only Elon Musk of Tesla ahead of her.

She began her tech career studying electrical engineering – a degree she considered to be one of the most difficult to succeed in.

“I learned that when I chose something very difficult and did well, it would give me great confidence for the next challenge. This mentality has continued in my career.”

She graduated from MIT with a PhD in electrical engineering. She went on to work at Texas Instruments, IBM and Freescale before joining the global tech company for 12 years as the senior vice president.

Two years later, Dr Su became the CEO and has been applauded for turning the company around from near-bankruptcy in 2014 to now having a stock market value of more than $100 billion.

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