7 Inspiring Businesses Started by Young Female Founders

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise. Fundera recently released statistics on women-owned businesses for 2020, and the data was promising. A few highlights include that there are 114% more women entrepreneurs now than there were 20 years ago, 40% of U.S. businesses are women-owned, and 64% of those businesses are owned by women of color. 

That said, there are still many specific challenges that uniquely affect women when entering these spaces. Societal expectations, access to funding, and not being taken seriously are all commonly cited experiences as told by women entrepreneurs. Add in a young age, and all of those occurrences intensify. 

While it’s never too late to follow your dreams, these women remind us it’s also never too early. If you’re passionate, driven, and believe in your product or service — you can make it happen. If you’re looking to start a business, but need a little inspiration, take a look at these fearless leaders and how they built their companies from the ground up.

  1. 1. Her Campus - Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Annie Wang and Windsor Hanger Western 

    This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Her Campus founders. After identifying the need for a college-focused publication, written by and for students, HC came to be. What's now the number one media site for college women began when Stephanie, Annie and Windsor were still students themselves! 

  2. 2. Rent the Runway - Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss

    When Rent the Runway began over a decade ago, it was a groundbreaking idea. Why should someone have to pay hundreds — maybe thousands — of dollars for a breathtaking outfit they’d only wear once? What has now developed into a monthly subscription service that essentially creates a bottomless closet, Rent the Runway started when Hyman and Fleiss were both in their 20s. 

  3. 3. Sol Sips - Francesca Chaney 

    This Brooklyn-based chef is on a mission to provide vegan food at an affordable price. Francesca Chaney was only 22 years old when she opened her restaurant, Sol Sips, where she believes that healthy food should be accessible to everyone. For this reason, she implemented a sliding scale brunch menu on Saturdays where customers can pay anywhere from $7-$15 for a meal and a drink. Sol Sips is also currently accepting donations to deliver meal kits to residents of neighborhoods harshly affected by COVID-19. 

  4. 4. ClassPass - Payal Kadakia and Emily Biggins

    Both women were in their early 30s when ClassPass launched. The app, like many businesses, was born through frustration. Kadakia realized how difficult it was to find an after-work dance class while cross-checking schedules and availability at different studios. From there she teamed up with Biggins, and ClassPass was born. These two women have created the ultimate business opportunity at the intersection of fitness and modern technology.

  5. 5. Huda Beauty - Huda Kattan 

    Huda Kattan, the founder of Huda Beauty, was in her 20s when she launched the makeup brand that would soon be a staple for millions of makeup lovers. A true entrepreneur, Kattan’s business mindset proves that our passions can become our professions. While her business is in the cosmetics industry, she's shown the many ways you can develop one central concept into different revenue streams. While she develops her physical makeup products, she's also a beauty blogger, celebrity makeup artist, YouTuber, and reality series star.

  6. 6. Glossier - Emily Weiss 

    Here's another brand you’ll find in my cosmetic bag. The makeup company as we know it today was started only six years ago. However, founder and CEO Emily Weiss started her brand with her blog, Into The Gloss, back in 2010 when she was only 25 years old. Encompassing some of my favorite products, Weiss’s success with Glossier proves that starting something today can lead to unexpected ventures tomorrow.

  7. 7. Outdoor Voices - Tyler Haney

    Outdoor Voices seems to be everyone’s favorite athleisure brand that normalized the idea of working out by simply "doing things." I love this brand not only for their high-quality products but also for their commitment to the idea that everyone's idea of fitness and a healthy lifestyle doesn’t always look the same. The brand’s founder, Tyler Haney, was only 25 when the company took off. Haney is proof that the best businesses often are created by the same people they’re designed for, who better to create a lifestyle brand for young women, than a young woman?

With these powerful entrepreneurs in mind, remember to never let your age get in the way of your ideas and dreams.