Women around the world are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship to follow their passions and take control of their careers. They are doing a great job at it, too.
No continent has a monopoly on women who have turned their passions and skills into highly lucrative, multi-billion-dollar ventures. In fact, the highest earning female entrepreneurs are scattered across vastly different regions of the world, representing a variety of markets.
The Top Female Startup Entrepreneurs Around the World
Venture capitalists ought to know that companies with women founders are outperforming their male peers. However, women are sadly still not getting a fair opportunity to bring their startup ideas to life. A recent study from Crunchbase confirmed that companies that were founded or co-founded by women received only 14 percent of US VC funding in 2018.
Top Female Founders in the United States
Despite this, women across the United States are using any and every resource at their disposal to bring some of the highest grossing ventures to fruition, particularly in the biotech and health industries.
The inequality in VC funding is certainly not because female entrepreneurs lack great ideas. It’s more likely related to issues such as the negative bias they face during pitches, with questions focusing on risk-mitigation rather than potential for profit. Unconscious preferences and the resulting confidence gap can fail to recognize the great value and global economic potential of women-led startups.
The huge global success of women entrepreneurs who managed to get their ideas past the boardroom demonstrates that it really pays to invest in women in business. So, which women are leading the way around the world, and which fields are attracting the biggest investments?
This set of female founder maps from Businessfinancing.co.uk identifies the women in each country who have received the most funding for their startup ideas.
It shows that there’s a real global reach for investing in women startup founders in a variety of fields. The ten most highly-funded entrepreneurs are spread across five continents, and a range of industries. Fintech and finance occupy five of the top spots, while e-commerce is the most successful field overall, followed by the biotech and health industries.
Take a look at the infographic maps above and below to find out more about which women founders have achieved big investments around the world.
Top Female Founders in North America
Throughout North America, some of the highest-earning female founders represent e-commerce and business software companies. The We Company, founded by Rebekah Neumann, is a commercial real estate business providing workspaces for technology startups and, prior to some controversy, was once valued at $47 billion.
Michele Romanow, founder of Clearbanc, made the list of 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2015. Her company offers revenue sharing solutions to help new online businesses get started and is valued at nearly $120 million.
Top Female Founders in Europe
Europe has seen female-led gaming and biotech startups succeed, with the UK’s Victoria van Lennep making the Forbes 30 under 30 list after raising millions for her company Lendable.
Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Milda Mitkute created Vinted, an online marketplace where people can buy and sell secondhand clothes. With over 13 million users, Vinted has become a worldwide phenomenon.
Mitkute’s advice to fellow creatives and entrepreneurs? “Do not be afraid of failing,” she offers. “Failers have the most precious experience and lessons.”
Top Female Founders in South America
According to Cruchbase News, “Although women founders receive less than 2 percent of venture capital funding worldwide, Latin America is a growing hub for women STEM entrepreneurs who are building startups to solve pressing social issues.”
Fintech, business software, and e-commerce are among the industries represented by companies with successful female founders. In fact, 35 percent of fintech startups in Latin America are led by women, including Cristina Junqueira of Nubank and Julie McPherson of Tiaxa.
Top Female Founders in the Middle East and Central Asia
For many women, working is not a “job” as much as a way of life. Among those with that mindset is Rama Kayyali, founder and managing partner of a digital education startup called Little Thinking Minds. “For me, working is a choice. I choose to work,” she stated, acknowledging her gratitude for the family support she received in not only pursuing her passion, but raising a family as well.
Top Female Founders in Asia
Lucy Peng, founder of Ant Financial Services, is the world’s top female founder, having raised $22 billion for the Alibaba affiliate group. Other top entrepreneurs, including Winnie Lee of Appier and Judy Tan of Eatigo, have found massive success in the business software and e-commerce industries.
Top Female Founders in Africa
Founder of African startup MAMA Ventures Kitawa Wemo shared with Forbes, “If I were to apply to a loan, as a woman under 30 without a husband, I would be profiled as high risk to financing.” Despite the funding difficulties faced by African women, several throughout the continent have solidified their places on the list of successful female-founded ventures.
Audrey Desiderato raised over $80 million for her Kenyan company SunFunder, which provides funding for solar energy projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa, particularly to areas without reliable access to electricity.
It’s clear that despite varying degrees of adversity, women founders all over the world are pushing through barriers to bring innovative, necessary ideas to fruition. In fact, embracing both adversity and diversity could be a key to breaking long-held boundaries and achieving great success.
According to Business Insider, many female entrepreneurs believe that “while their differences may have at times felt like a setback, they’ve ultimately become an incredible advantage, providing them with unique perspectives, experiences, and tools they use in their work and lives.”