Meet America’s Richest Self-Made Women, How Two Africans Overcame Their Biases to Build a Billion-Plus Startup for Small Business Owners

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In recent news, Forbes launched its eighth annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, a ranking that highlights the entrepreneurial success and fortunes of the 100 richest and most successful businesswomen.

Of the 100 members of the list, 38 are worth less than in 2021, but 51 are richer, including 7 newcomers and 7 women returning to the ranks after previously dropping out. A newcomer to the list is fashion entrepreneur Paige Mycoskie, whose Aviator Nation brand took off during the pandemic as TikTok teens embraced the Venice Beach vibe by grabbing her beloved $160 smiley face sweatpants and his $190 retro rainbow stripe hoodies. Every Aviator Nation garment is designed by Mycoskie and handcrafted in a California factory. Sales have grown from $70 million in 2020 to $110 million in 2021, and the brand expects that number to at least double by 2023.

Also new to the list is Lucy Guo, an artificial intelligence expert and co-founder of Scale AI, which she created in 2016 with Alexandr Wang. Guo got his start with a nearly 6% stake in Scale AI, which was valued by private investors at $7.3 billion in 2021. Guo and Wang were on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018, the same year that Guo left the artificial intelligence company. She co-founded startup venture capital firm Backend Capital in 2019 and in April this year launched Moment, which she describes as a “web3 platform for creators”.

Another newcomer to the list is Emma Grede, the first black woman to serve as an investor on ABC. shark tank. She’s CEO of Good American, the inclusive fashion brand she launched with Khloe Kardashian in 2016. She’s founding partner and chief product officer of Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand Skims, of which Grede’s husband is CEO. Grede also founded marketing agency ITB Worldwide in 2008.

To see the full list, click here, and to meet the newcomers, click here.


Spotlight on History

How two Africans overcame their prejudices to create a startup worth billions

Two young Ugandans and Ghanaians in their twenties thought there was a fortune to be made by bringing transnational financial services to Africa’s 1.2 billion people. With 5 million users, San Francisco-based Chipper Cash is just getting started: the company has so far raised $300 million from a list of blue-chip VCs, most recently in November at a valuation of $2.2 billion.

Key quote: “I believe deeply in the role of entrepreneurship and capitalism in improving the lives of people who live in developing countries.”—Ham Serunjogi, Co-Founder and CEO of Chipper Cash


In other news, Forbes released its seventh annual Fintech 50 list, which includes 25 newcomers. Crypto companies and startups trying to make banking services cheaper and more accessible for small businesses performed particularly strongly. Learn about the pioneers who make up this year’s most innovative startups in personal finance, investing, payments and crypto.

Latina superstar Jennifer Lopez recently announced a new partnership with nonprofit Grameen America, which provides loans, financial literacy training and credit building to low-income women. The actress will help mentor the organization’s network of more than 150,000 women-led small businesses in Latin American communities. It will also help Grameen pursue its goal of providing $14 billion in loan capital to some 600,000 Latino entrepreneurs by 2030.

A thriving ecosystem has emerged for startups during the pandemic, with some 380 out of 100,000 American adults becoming new entrepreneurs each month in 2020 alone, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. If you’re looking to grow your business, consider conducting a skills audit of your employees to target the skills you lack. To attract the best talent, create a recruitment section, promote diversity and offer telecommuting. Here are six good hiring practices.

Having trouble setting the right price for your products? Forbes Contributor Rhett Buttle offers five approaches, such as premium pricing and bundles, to help small business owners maximize profits. Psychological pricing – like placing cheaper or edible products inside scope of the checkout line has also been proven to boost sales.

A new venture capital firm called The General Partnership has raised $240 million for a fund that the company’s founders say will be used to support startups over longer-term periods. The young company brings services to its clients that many VCs wouldn’t offer until they grow up, taking a new approach that the founders say works, but with limitations.

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