We’re well into International Women’s Month as I write this. Thus, it’s only natural for us to have a feature celebrating all the brilliant, amazing female entrepreneurs Down Under.
However, the following list won’t feature the usual heavyweights like Gina Rinehart or even Melanie Perkins (who’s half-Filipino, btw, but I digress). Don’t get me wrong. These women are certified BAMF’s, that’s for sure.
But since we cater mostly to SME entrepreneurs, we figured we’d put the spotlight on female founders in that industry. Plus, let’s get real here. It’s a different playing field when you’ve got, say, a $1 million net worth, as opposed to $1 billion in the same.
So, without further ado, here are some of the best female entrepreneurs absolutely killing it with their start-ups and small businesses Down Under:
1.) Leah Callon-Butler (Intimate.io).
What do the sex industry and cryptocurrency have in common? They’re both highly controversial and often misunderstood.
Callon-Butler is out to change all that. As the co-founder of intimate.io, her startup helps make payments in the adult industry easier. It also introduces a verifiable and immutable trust and reputation system.
Intimate.io raised millions via an initial coin offering last year, but they have encountered their fair share of challenges. For instance, payment provider Square cut them off after they enabled their customers to buy vibrators with cryptocurrency. Callon-Butler remains undeterred, however.
“This is exactly the reason why intimate.io exists — to challenge this mode of financial discrimination against perfectly legitimate, tax-paying entities within the legal adult industry,” she said.
“Our merchants have been battling against this economic exclusion for too long, and it’s time to put an end to the moral arbitration.”
2.) Lorna Deng (Divtal).
As a Kenya-born migrant, Deng struggled to find employment in Australia. She then channeled her frustration into developing Divtal. This online platform connects organisations with culturally-diverse talent.
Through this venture, she hopes to bridge the gap between migrants looking for work and companies seeking to incorporate greater diversity into their workforce (but don’t know how to start).
3.) Shahirah Gardner (Finch).
Together with her partner Toby, Gardner founded the financial management start-up in 2017. This was the result of her time spent in one of the world’s most competitive fintech accelerators. They’ve since raised $2.25 million just three months after launch, and the company continues to land customers throughout Australia as it expands.
4.) Andrea Gardiner (Jelix Ventures).
Jelix Ventures is a relatively young firm, but it’s already led 12 investments into nine different start-ups. One of them, StorReduce, has already exited. Its investors apparently multiplied their returns tenfold upon the sale of the start-up.
Gardiner is the second woman to found a venture capital firm Down Under. Her husband Ian recently quit his job to work full-time at her firm. He keeps a lookout for promising start-ups and sends them her way. She, meanwhile, carries out rigorous due diligence and meticulously structures the terms of each deal.
5.) Jen Geale (Mountain Bikes Direct).
This Smart50 winner co-founded the e-commerce business Mountain Bikes Direct. The business has grown 236% over the past three years, and is currently worth $7.8 million.
Best of all, Geale managed to do that mostly remotely. Her company has no central office and the entire team works from home. They communicate primarily through platforms like Slack and Asana.
6.) Sarah Moran (Girl Geek Academy).
Moran has been active in the Australian startup community for the past few years. However, she is best known spearheading the movement encouraging more young girls to take up coding. To accomplish this, she set up a business called Girl Geek Academy.
She’s also been an outspoken advocate for the AU tech industry. Back in 2018, she notably spoke out against the government’s controversial AA Bill, which has potentially damaging flow-on effects for the industry.
7.) Kate Morris (Adore Beauty).
The forecast for Adore Beauty has its revenues tipping over $100 million back in 2019, putting it solidly in the Medium business category. Morris’ journey to get there has been long and storied, however.
She started the business back in 2000 and has been vocal about enhancing diversity and equality in the industry. Morris has also been adamant about her business success being more than just money. As a result, she’s introduced benefits like doubled domestic leave for her staff, among other things.
“Success is about having choices about how I want to live my life, and having opportunities to make a difference to the world. I get to work flexibly to spend time with my kids. I also get to do great things with my business now, like paid parental leave and our Women in Tech scholarship,” Morris said.
8.) Julie Mathers (Flora and Fauna).
It’s no secret that buyers have gotten more conscientious about their purchasing habits over the years. Mathers’ sustainably focused e-commerce store, Flora and Fauna, is her response to such.
Backed by nearly three decades of experience in the cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainable retail industry, she launched the store in 2014. It has since grown by 400% annually, reflecting Australians’ growing penchant for responsible shopping.
9.) Clara Ong (Social Suite).
Back in 2018, Ong beat out other formidable competitors at a pitch competition and won a $128,000 check. Social Suite, which she founded in 2015, helps companies track their social and environmental impact.
Social Suite has since continued to thrive. They locked in a $1.85 million Series A round from AddVentures and Salesforce Ventures. Ong’s team has also set its sights internationally, where clients are waiting in the wings.
10.) Katherine Roberts (This Little Pig Went to Market).
Roberts founded the quirkily-named Perth-based food delivery company with a partner before she turned 30. Though she’s known for her sunny disposition, she’s also quite frank about how she runs her business.
For instance, she’s adamant about founders looking to change “tiny things” to benefit consumers as opposed to broad, sweeping changes. Roberts is also refreshingly frank about the realities of the early years of entrepreneurship. She often addresses how entrepreneurs often get paid last, even after pouring their heart and soul into the business.
“In a lot of cases, you just end up being the burnt chop, because you have to pay everyone else before yourself,” Roberts said.
“From my perspective, while the business is making money, it should go back into the growth of the business… Extra cash flow should go into an extra cool room or an extra delivery van rather than into my wage.”
11.) Rosie and Lucy Thomas (Project Rockit).
The Thomas sisters founded this social venture, which empowers Australian youths to stand up for themselves and others in the face of bullying. Their endeavour has been so successful that even the social media giant Facebook itself invested in the company.
Rosie and Lucy Thomas’ partnership is also a wonderful example of a “complementary” relationship. The sisters regularly talk about how their respective strengths compensate for their respective weaknesses.
Lastly, it’s hard enough to put up a business and keep it running. All the more so when you’ve got kids. But this is the reality for a lot of women.
Fortunately, outsourcing can help. It can take a lot of tedious yet critical tasks off your hands so you can focus on what you do best and grow your business. With the right outsourcing partner, you can tap into the best remote Filipino talent out there and rest assured that your company is functioning as it should while you go out there and keep slaying.
Remote Staff has been recruiting and onboarding the top Filipino remote talent for more than years. We’ve helped several AU businesses scale up with our rich and diverse talent pool, and we’d love to support more female entrepreneurs as they build dreams.