6 successful women entrepreneurs: there’s no ‘small’ in small business
Below is an article originally written by Jessica Leigh Lebos, Senior Storyteller & Writer at Kiva. Go to Kiva's Company Page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Entrepreneurship not only benefits the economy and makes for a more inclusive financial environment, it brings innovative, exciting—and often delicious!—possibilities to communities, cities, and industrial sectors.
These six women are achieving big things in the world of small business.
1. Authentic African prints make Veronica’s fashionwear unique
The fashion industry can be a challenging sector for an entrepreneur to break into, but Veronica has been able to make it work, even as the pandemic increased the difficulty. Offering bespoke designs made from authentic African prints, Veronica launched Melmikay’s a decade ago in the Boston, MA area.
COVID-19 negatively impacted her one-on-one business model of measuring and designing for each client, and she knew she had to produce on a bigger scale and move her business online in order to survive. With the capital from her zero interest Kiva loan, she increased production and upgraded her website and is now able to sell her unique designs all over the world.
2. Geetha brings vegetarian catering to Texas
Another Kiva loan helped Geetha take her vegetarian catering business to the next level. Born in Malaysia to an Indian family who did not eat meat, Geetha struggled to find healthy vegetarian fare to feed her own children. She began cooking her own vegetarian dishes for others while living in New Jersey and moved to Texas in 2019 to scale the business. She was able to purchase equipment to ferment her own tempeh, and these days Spoon & Sprout fulfills wholesale and dinner-sized orders all over the greater Houston area.
3. Claudia’s coffee roasting business also saves animals
Take Claudia, for example: She used a Kiva loan to expand her coffee-roasting business in Park City, UT that combines its mission of providing Fair Trade, organic coffee with rescuing animals. Claudia and Hugo Coffee now supply nearby resorts, grocery stores, and online shoppers with fresh-roasted coffee as well as supporting pet rescue organizations throughout the region.
4. Denise designs new realities in the tech industry
Though women and minorities tend to be woefully underrepresented in the tech industry, Denise has operated her own design agency since she graduated from high school and has evolved into web design, virtual reality, and UX/UI design spaces. To move $NP Designs forward, she used capital from a Kiva loan to expand her team and fund the agency’s 2022 Augmented Reality Show.
5. Patricia styles at the salon of her dreams
Patricia immigrated from Brazil to the U.S. when she was a child, settling in the New York area. She had worked as a hairstylist for 15 years and felt strongly that she could open her own luxury salon, if only she had the capital necessary to secure a space and buy equipment. She found it via a small business loan funded by 67 Kiva lenders, who helped her launch Rock Rock Salon, which has a busy roster of clients—not to mention editorial features in major magazines.
6. One loan started Terina’s bakery—a second helped it grow
Often entrepreneurs require additional capital to scale as their business grows. Baker Terina received her first Kiva loan in order to pay for licensing, uniforms, website, and other supplies for Cobblerworld, which supplies grocery stores and restaurants with mouth-watering desserts as well as serving them at a charming brick-in-mortar shop in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. Demand for Terina’s treats has increased so much that she needed to hire another baker, and another loan helped cushion the expense. Now she’s able to keep up with more contracts as well as attend to her own non-profit venture.
Entrepreneurs make it work
Perhaps you have your own entrepreneurial dream? These 6 women made it work despite the challenges of receiving funding as a small business, and chances are if you’re passionate enough, you can too.
If you’d like to offer encouragement for another entrepreneur hoping to make it work, for as little as $25, you can contribute to funding the next entrepreneurial success story.