PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Nov. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Women-owned businesses continue to be a driving force of the US economy. In total, they currently employ 18 million workers and generate anywhere from $2 trillion to $3 trillion annually. Yet women-owned businesses rarely reach the same level of economic scale as businesses started by men. EY is working to close this gap through its Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, by helping women-owned businesses get access to the necessary know-how, networks and tools to effectively grow their companies.
This year's winners come from a broad range of industries and geographies. From a founder of beauty bars taking Canada by storm, to a CEO of a gift food company sourcing American-made products and packaging domestically in Minnesota, to a real estate visionary who is revitalizing Nashville's urban core, these women represent a diverse variety of businesses. The common denominator is that they are all poised to reach new levels of growth, following in the footsteps of past winners.
Entrepreneurial Winning Women is an executive leadership program that identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs from the United States and Canada whose businesses show real potential to scale — and then helps them do it. Specifically, the program helps bridge the gap for what EY refers to as "the missing middle" — second-stage women business owners whose companies have emerged from the start-up phase but face a crucial inflection point in their growth journey. Since inception in 2008, the program has helped more than 70 participants grow their companies, averaging approximately 20% revenue growth annually. Companies in their second year of participation, when they really internalize the information and best practices, have seen revenue growth of up to 50%.
"The Entrepreneurial Winning Women program has been an imperative part of my company's success and I'm so proud to be able to help other female entrepreneurs succeed," said Leslie Firtell, Founder and CEO of Tower Legal Solutions and a 2012 Entrepreneurial Winning Woman. "The program enables women to have access to knowledge, ideas and experiences that many companies don't have until they are much larger. But it's these insights that can really help companies scale big — quickly. My own company has grown tremendously; with a three-year growth rate of 489%, we have been recognized on Crain's Fast 50 and the Inc. 5000 lists, and I'm excited to help other women work to attain their goals."
At its core, the program is designed to help women entrepreneurs break through the barriers that typically prevent growing businesses from scaling to their full potential. Once selected, the entrepreneurs participate in a customized program designed by EY to catalyze their companies' growth by building and fostering critical relationships, enhancing leadership skills, expanding business know-how and providing increased visibility. The program is evergreen and continues to help women in the years that follow their initial win.
"Women entrepreneurs play a huge role in shaping our nation, and the success of our previous winners is a true illustration of how women-owned business can influence the economy," says Kerrie MacPherson, Principal, Financial Services Office, and Entrepreneurial Winning Women North American Executive Sponsor at Ernst & Young LLP. "In fact, participant companies' total 2013 revenue was 63% higher than their total revenues in the years before they joined the program."
The members of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2014 are:
Britnie Faith Turner
Aerial Development Group
Aerial Development Group is Nashville's largest infill residential real estate development company. Aerial buys up transitional areas of the urban core, revitalizes them and makes them the fastest-appreciating areas of town. The company has grown to $30 million in revenue with $90 million in assets in its first five years. Aerial has expanded into three other cities and has global ambitions. Britnie bought her first rental property at the age of 18 after a trip to Africa, where she was moved to make a real difference; real estate development is her means to do that.
c3/consulting is a management consulting firm working with Fortune 1000 and growth companies to successfully navigate critical inflection points, like mergers and acquisitions, strategy shifts, emerging competitive or market pressures, significant regulation changes, and scaling infrastructure for growth. The company works as an extension of private equity firms and the C-suite to ensure important change happens. Its secret sauce is very different from traditional consulting firms: c3 acts as a catalyst to drive transformational change, bringing a unique, roll-up-your-sleeves, people-centric approach to align teams and accelerate execution. The company has a 90%+ client retention rate and has doubled its revenue over the past three years.
Farient Advisors, LLC
Farient Advisors is an executive compensation and performance consulting and data company. It is retained primarily by Fortune 500 compensation committees and senior management to design executive pay programs that support the strategy and performance of the business while providing reasonable compensation for the performance delivered. In addition, the company captures, publishes and sells compensation data subscriptions around pay and performance alignment. Farient gets to know its clients extraordinarily well, establishing trust and delivering advice supported by strong analytics. The company enjoys a retention rate of close to 100%.
Ivy Exec, Inc.
Ivy Exec is a highly selective and curated career community that offers career advancement resources to global business leaders, as well as recruitment, employment branding and market research to leading universities and companies across industries. Although the company accepts only 40% of its applicants, membership has grown to half a million high-caliber professionals. Ivy Exec leverages its technology platform and curated community to offer innovative recruitment solutions to clients such as Google, eBay and The Economist, as well as members of the Fortune 1000 and rapidly growing entrepreneurial companies. Ivy Exec's recruitment services typically reduce the cost per hire by over 30%, in addition to shortening the time to hire.
Amy Norman and Stella Ma
Little Passports inspires children to learn about the world through monthly subscription-based products. Each month, children receive a package in their mailbox from Little Passports characters Sam and Sofia. With the World Edition, children learn about a new country each month. With the USA Edition, they learn about two new states each month. Every package arrives filled with activities, stickers, souvenirs, photos and access to online games and activities. All content is unique, high-quality and created in-house, resulting in customer retention that is four to six times the industry average and tripling revenue year-over-year. Little Passports has partnered with companies such as Facebook and the National Geographic Society as it seeks to build the next major global multimedia children's brand.
Maud Borup, Inc.
Maud Borup is a wholesale food gift manufacturer specializing in gourmet candy, snacks and beverage for specialty and mass retailers like Target and Walmart. The company provides a high level of customer service to retailers and wholesalers through custom product design and development, a lean supply chain and green manufacturing practices. In 2014 alone, Maud Borup produced 3 million gift sets and brought 150 new items to market. The company takes pride in packing its gifts in the US and sourcing a majority of its food and packaging components in the US. Maud Borup's factory is located in Le Center, Minnesota, where the company additionally provides contract packing and is GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) certified.
Redwood Classics Apparel
Redwood Classics Apparel is one of North America's few vertically integrated apparel manufacturers, proudly producing on Canadian soil. The company helps premium retail and designer brands by focusing on quality, low minimums, speed to market, flexibility and a collaborative approach to product development and bulk production. By considering each client a business partner, clients are freed to focus on their core competencies, while Redwood Classics helps them execute efficiently and effectively.
SET Creative is an experiential agency. It specializes in creating engaging experiences at retail and live events that connect consumers to brands — experiences that result in sales, social media sharing and building brand equity. SET works with world-class brands such as Nike, Google, Victoria's Secret and BMW. The company is passionate about creating meaningful, best-in-class experiences, holistically incorporating the digital and social components that are present in our everyday lives. Most important, these immersive experiences make consumers lifelong fans of the brand.
Simplicity Consulting, Inc.
Companies today must stay relevant and go to market faster in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive business environment. Simplicity Consulting has the solution. It delivers scalable, integrated, custom marketing talent solutions to Fortune 1000 companies in the technology, retail, health care, financial services and wireless industries. Simplicity's teams are powered by experts in social media, digital PR, content marketing, campaign management, data analytics and sales enablement. The company has successfully completed thousands of projects with Microsoft, T-Mobile, Amazon, HP, Ericsson, Russell Investments and others, resulting in powerful brand experiences with its customers.
Steeped Tea, Inc.
Tea is poised to overtake the coffee market by 2020. Taking advantage of this trend, Steeped Tea has driven 3,000% revenue growth in the last two years by direct selling loose-leaf tea at in-home parties. Through the company's 5,000 North American consultants, Steeped Tea is creating entrepreneurs every single day.
Sarah Kauss designed and developed the first "hydration accessory" bottle, which keeps drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. S'well bottles are sold in 35 countries and thousands of stores, including J. Crew and Nordstrom, and to direct customers such as Facebook, Microsoft and the TED Conference. S'well is the only bottle that looks great and does good, with donations made to charity partners for every bottle sold.
The Ten Spot, Inc.
The Ten Spot is a quickly growing chain of upscale beauty spas, offering impeccably executed manicures, pedicures and waxing services in an ultra-clean and hip environment. The spa industry is a $14 billion market, and The Ten Spot has perfected the first turnkey franchise model that allows franchisees to easily open, successfully operate and readily grow their locations. The company's goal is to be known as the most reputable and recognized beauty bar in the world — in other words, it wants to be the Starbucks of spas.
The 13 members of the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2014 received an all-expense paid trip to this year's EY Strategic Growth Forum® 2014, an invitation-only gathering of more than 2,000 high-growth, market-leading company CEOs being held this week in Palm Springs, California. The Forum presents a one-of-a-kind platform for Entrepreneurial Winning Women to introduce their companies and share their corporate and personal brands with a community of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ winners, top executives, prospective investors and business advisors. The members of the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2014 were introduced and honored at a special celebratory luncheon today during the Forum.
The distinguished panel of independent judges for the Entrepreneurial Winning Women 2014 program included:
- Cynthia Cohen, CEO, Strategic Mindshare
- Mike Cohen, Managing General Partner, VGPartners
- Laurie Cunnington, President, Cunnington & Cunnington (formerly President of Ward Williston Oil Company)
- Joy Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO, TayganPoint Consulting
In September, EY issued an independent report, "Force Multipliers: How three fundamental adaptations can help women entrepreneurs scale big," in conjunction with Babson College's Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership, which surveyed the program's participants. The research identified three steps that female entrepreneurs can take to significantly accelerate their company's growth:
- Define a purpose
- Build a community of peers
- Adapt their leadership style
These three pillars are now a cornerstone of the teachings in this year's program. Additionally, participants are coached on the five foundational leaps they need to scale their business:
- Thinking big and being bold
- Building a public profile
- Working on the business, rather than in it
- Finding and establishing the right network
- Evaluating financing for expansion
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women program is conducted in collaboration with several organizations that encourage the development of women-owned businesses, including the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO), the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), The Committee of 200 (C200), Golden Seeds, the Kauffman Foundation, Babson College's Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the program, visit www.ey.com/us/entrepreneurialwinningwomen.
About EY's Strategic Growth Markets Practice
Ernst & Young LLP's Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multi-disciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate the path to market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. EY is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at www.ey.com/us/strategicgrowthmarkets, or follow news on Twitter @EY_Growth.
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