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Today’s Female Founders Are a Force to Be Reckoned With

I’m talking to friend and founder Angela Benton, who moved to a farm a bit ago, and she’s telling me how she spends time outdoors between Zoom calls for her com­pany, Streamlytics. Tending to the plants in a mindful way — horticultural therapy, it’s called — has been healing for her, and she wants to bring other founders to spend time there, she says, before trading soil for concrete and offering to come to Inc.‘s high-rise offices to share with our young ­reporters what startup life is like.

We’re at Inc.‘s Founders House during SXSW in Austin, where we welcome about 3,000 founders for conversations and community, so the days are busy. Beatrice Dixon, CEO of the Honey Pot Company and host of our Your Next Move event and video series, has dropped by to share how we can better elevate the profile of certain other businesswomen; and Janice Omadeke, a GP at the Fund, has just offered to help us with our community building. Those conversations take place right before and right after I sit down with founder and therapist Bea Arthur and four other women entrepreneurs, two from this year’s Inc. 5000. We’re having lunch after Bea and Inc. contributor Teneshia Carr had a conversation on our stage, and Bea’s now coaching those we’re with on how to face down their doubts and indifferent investors.

In the four days we’re here, I’ll have also been honored to spend time with Wisdom at Work author Chip Conley, Block (formerly Square) co-founder Jim McKelvey, and the very esteemed Deepak Chopra, but it’s these women who have left the biggest impression on me. They are each working hard to solve a problem with the businesses they’ve launched. And with that same sense of passion, they’re working hard at being helpful to others. To watch it is inspiring and humbling, and as I’m sitting here writing this Note From Inc., I can only wish that I had the same capacity to make, as they say, shit happen — to tend to a business and to plants and to people in the same beat, like Angela and the others do.

It’s a behavior worth modeling even if I don’t master it, but fortunately there are many more like her and Bea and Janice. In fact, in this issue of Inc., there are no fewer than 200 women doing amazing things, all honorees in our 2023 Female Founders program. From the famous, like Lena Waithe and Eva Longoria, to those not yet famous — like Sahra Nguyen, founder of Nguyen Coffee Supply, and Kim Abrams, co-founder of the industrial drilling company Petra — women in entrepreneurship are a force to be reckoned with. That’s why we actually doubled the size of the list from last year. Check out their stories and their advice. You’ll learn some things. And my guess is, we’ll have to increase the size of the list again in 2024.


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