Idaho’s Leading Ladies: Celebrating the Success of Women-Owned Businesses


In the spotlight: Some enterprising Women Entrepreneurs from Idaho

#WomenEntrepreneurs #IdahoBusiness #Innovation #WomenInBusiness #SmallBusinessSuccess #Entrepreneurship

Idaho is home to a thriving community of women entrepreneurs, making significant strides across various industries. From technology to healthcare, education to retail, these women are at the forefront of innovation and growth, transforming the state’s business landscape. According to the Idaho Women Entrepreneurs Association, the number of women-owned businesses in Idaho has surged by 50% over the past five years. This impressive growth is a testament to the state’s supportive environment, bolstered by companies – all founded by visionary women.

The state government plays a crucial role in this success, offering a range of programs and resources tailored for women entrepreneurs, including the Women’s Business Center and the Small Business Administration. These initiatives provide essential support, from funding to mentorship, ensuring that women entrepreneurs have the tools they need to thrive. As Idaho continues to foster an inclusive and dynamic business ecosystem, women entrepreneurs are not just participating but are leading the charge in creating a vibrant, diverse, and prosperous economic future.

Now, let us look at some enterprising women entrepreneurs in Idaho.

Amanda Watson, President & Founder of Atlas Strategic Communications

Amanda Watson is President & Founder of Atlas Strategic Communications. In 2017 at the age of 29, she founded a locally-focused, issue-driven communications firm. In doing so, she joined the many pioneering women who are focused on carving their own way and following their passion.

In the future of doing business as a woman, she is committed to being a steward of the changes needed in the areas she can control. She feels that women in the professional services industry have an abysmal chance of reaching leadership levels; so she remains committed to pulling this issue of out of the shadows and confront what is tough and even embarrassing to talk about. To the next generation of female leaders, she appeals that this fight is for you to face and overpower!

Laura Hallenberger, CEO and Owner, USATuff

Hallenberger leads customer communication efforts for USATuff, which creates custom wraps for a variety of coolers and fabricates custom cooler pads and boat decking out of marine-grade material for SeaDek

USATuff developed the concept of the cooler wrap and manufactured the first prototype in early 2015. Since then, they have developed products for over 30 major cooler brands and have become the go-to experts – for all that is cooler customization. They are proud to admit that the USATuff product continues to be the toughest, thickest and most durable wrap on the market today. 

She strongly feels that a woman in leadership in the business world, “means that I have never let anything hold me back from achieving my goals”.  Her advice to other women business owners is – never let anyone hold you back or stop you from achieving your business goals. Always put your best foot forward, learn from your mistakes, surround yourself with good people, find and build from your strengths and remember to stop and enjoy your success!

Anne Reeve, CEO & Owner, Chris Reeve Knives

Chris Reeve Knives was founded in Durban, South Africa, in 1984, and Anne Reeve has played a critical role in the business since day one. When founder and former CEO Chris Reeve was ready to retire, Anne took over the leadership of the company, continuing its upward trajectory as it introduces innovative and award-winning knives and accessories. 

The knife industry is mostly male-dominated, and she has worked in it for 30+ years, first as an equal owner of Chris Reeve Knives and then as the sole owner. Her company philosophy is the pursuit of excellence in a culture of respect. She feels honoured to have so much support, both locally and from the industry at large.

They have earned a worldwide reputation for the finest quality knives and outstanding customer service. The industry gathers annually in Atlanta, Georgia, for a huge show, and it is here that the most important industry awards are announced. Chris Reeve Knives has won around 25 Knife of the Year Awards in various categories including Overall, American Made and Manufacturing Quality. They have also been awarded Best of the Best by Gray’s Sporting Journal and Field and Stream Magazine.

Annalisa DeMarta, Co-Founder & President, Lone Cone

Annalisa DeMarta and her husband founded Lone Cone – to create products that made getting out and about with family quicker and easier. Lone Cone creates products for kids – from backpacks and lunchboxes to rain and snow boots, that promote independence and allow for more family fun time.

She feels that surrounding yourself with the right people (personally and professionally) can make a huge impact on an organization’s performance.

Accolades have come their way. Lone Cone received Outside Magazine’s Top 50 Places to Work in the U.S. Award in 2020 and 2021. It has also made the Inc. 5000 list four years in a row (2016-2020) and has been named an Idaho Best Places to Work for 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Cassie Abel, Founder & CEO, Wild Rye

Cassie Abel identified a gap in the outdoor-recreation industry – that finding comfortable, versatile and practical clothing for the outdoors was a challenge. She then knew she had to do something about it. So, she started Wild Rye – to design outdoor apparel for women that was built for the elements but was also flattering and cozy. It’s this commitment to inclusivity and empowering women of all shapes and body types that drives her leadership.

She was also recently included on the Forbes Next 1000 list. The Next 1000 is a year-round initiative that showcases sole proprietors, self-funded shops and pre-revenue startups in every region of the country.

Megan Murphy Lengyel, Founder, SQN Sport

After a successful visual arts career, Megan Murphy Lengyel channelled her artistic side to start SQN Sport, a luxury women’s active wear company.

Featuring minimalist and contemporary designs that work for dressing up or down, Lengyel’s products are the perfect ensemble for mixing, matching and layering.

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