The most high-achieving women under 35 in the private and public sectors have been named in Management Today’s 35 under 35 list – and 11 of them are entrepreneurs. (Incidentally, it's a list we particularly like here at Smarta as our very own founder Shaa Wasmund has made it in before.)
The youngest ever entrant to the list, Ruth Amos, is just 19. She founded StairSteady in 2007 from a concept she came up with for her GCSE coursework – a device to help people climb stairs. Despite every major bank turning her down for finance, the business is now showing such success she’s planning on taking three years out before starting university to develop it.
“My age is not only my biggest help but my biggest hindrance,” Amos said. (Read more the problems young entrepreneurs face.)
The list also features 22-year-old inventor and innovators Emily Cummins, whose solar powered fridge is helping people store food for longer all around Africa. She was previously Leeds University’s Enterprise Scholar 2008.
Other inspirational business starters include: Kate Craig-Wood, who founded web and IT hosting provider Memset (now turning over £2m annually); Elspeth Finch, founder of pedestrian modelling consultancy Intelligent Space (she started it age 24); Sophie Howarth, founding director of social enterprise, philosophy school and workshop School of Life; Daily Mail Enterprising Young Brit winner Priya Lakhani, who started curry sauce company and social enterprise Masala Masala (each pot sold provides a meal for a homeless person in India); PR agency Man Bites Dog founder Claire Mason, 34; Savannah Miller, co-founder of fashion label Twenty8Twelve; SEO company Verve Search founder Lisa Myers; and Azita Qadri, who founded Eat Your Cake, helping startups to recruit high-calibre professionals who need to work on flexi-time.
The industry-straddling selection just goes to show how many hugely different paths there are out there for wannabe business starters. From curry to consultancy, invention to internet, in the words of Miller: “If you want something bad enough, you can get it – no matter what.”