May 9, 2024

INC Magazine’s Female Founders: An Unstoppable Force

INC Magazine recently published its annual Female Founders 250 list. The list is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of women entrepreneurs.


The 2024 list, released in April, features inspiring stories of 250 women who have overcome challenges, seized opportunities, and made significant contributions to their industries and communities. Below we’ve shared some background on how the list is developed each year, and words of wisdom from the advisory board.


Rigorous Selection Process

The Female Founders 250 list is not a popularity contest but a rigorous selection process based on objective criteria. Entrepreneurs submit applications, providing data on revenue, growth, funding, and social media momentum. A distinguished panel of judges, including the Female Founders Advisory Board, evaluates the submissions and ranks the honorees based on their achievements in the past year.


Advisory Board Expertise

The Female Founders Advisory Board, composed of successful female founders and business leaders, played a crucial role in the selection process. Their insights and guidance ensured that the list highlighted entrepreneurs who exemplify the principles of entrepreneurship.


Valuable Advice from the Experts

In addition to recognizing the honorees, the Female Founders Advisory Board shared their wisdom and advice for aspiring and established entrepreneurs:


  • Collect Relationships. Suneera Madhani, founder and CEO of the ­Orlando-­based financial services startup Worth AI, founder of the fintech unicorn Stax Payments, and founder of CEO School emphasizes the importance of building strong connections and valuing every interaction.
  • Take Inventory and Surround Yourself with Support. Founder and designer of her New York City-based fashion label and co-founder of the Female Founder Collective, Rebecca Minkoff recommends taking a step back to assess situations, surrounding yourself with bright minds, and seeking fresh perspectives.
  • Embrace Vision and Trust Your Gut. Emma Grede, co-founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based fashion brand Good American, co-founder of shapewear brand Skims and cleaning brand Safely, and Chair of the Fifteen Percent Pledge advises entrepreneurs to have a clear vision, trust their instincts, and embrace strategic planning.
  • Understand Capital Needs. Founder and CEO of the global professional education and networking platform Luminary, Cate Luzio highlights the need for female founders to understand their capital needs, explore various funding options, and carefully consider the terms and risks involved.
  • Confront Doubt Objectively. Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO of New York City-based sustainable-infrastructure company Uncharted encourages entrepreneurs to acknowledge doubt, separate it from imposter syndrome, and use it to avoid unnecessary mistakes while pursuing visionary thinking.
  • Address Structural Inequality. Founder of New York City-based technology education nonprofit Girls Who Code and advocacy group Moms First, Reshma Saujani argues that addressing structural inequalities that limit women’s opportunities is crucial for achieving gender equality in business.
  • Embrace Growth from Pain. Alli Webb, co-founder of Los Angeles-based hair styling business Drybar and massage franchise Squeeze emphasizes the importance of facing challenges head-on, learning from setbacks, and finding ways to clear space for personal and professional growth.


Michelle Zatlyn: A Case Study in Excellence

From a list of 250 women entrepreneurs, Michelle Zatlyn, co-founder of Cloudflare, a San Francisco cyber security and web services firm, especially exemplifies the resilience and leadership qualities of the Female Founders 250 honorees. Amidst the Gaza conflict, she questioned her every decision to ensure her company provided equitable access to the internet for all parties. Her introspection and willingness to adapt illustrate the challenges and responsibilities faced by today’s entrepreneurs.


Inspiration and Empowerment

The Female Founders 250 list serves as an inspiration and empowerment for women entrepreneurs. It showcases the vast contributions of women to the business world and highlights the barriers they continue to face. You can see the full list here.


If you’re inspired to begin your own enterprise but lack business acumen, contact our expert consultants and we’ll help you get started on your MBA journey!