Michigan Mavericks: Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs Shaping Tomorrow’s Business Landscape


On Centre-stage: Some enterprising Women Entrepreneurs from Michigan

#MichiganEntrepreneurs #WomenInBusiness #InnovationLeaders #EntrepreneurialSpirit

In the heart of the Great Lakes region, Michigan stands as a spotlight of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Boasting of the highest concentration of engineers in the nation and a skilled trades workforce ranking among the Top Ten nationally, Michigan cultivates a fertile ground for trailblazing women entrepreneurs to flourish. These visionary women are not only shaping the landscape of business, but also inspiring generations to come with their resilience, creativity, and unwavering determination.

Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has been on a steady rise, with the state ranking 10th overall in the 2023 rankings. Notably, Michigan has made significant strides in various categories, including ranking 6th for the cost of doing business and 7th for the cost of living. With a robust foundation in technology and innovation, Michigan is paving the way for women entrepreneurs to thrive in a business-friendly environment.

Is Michigan a business friendly state? Businesses thrive in the state’s globally connected location. In fact, for foreign direct investment Michigan is a Top 3 state and Detroit is the number 1 metropolitan area for FDI projects, as reported. Michigan is where America’s most innovative companies are shaping the future.

So, let us examine business journeys of some inspiring women entrepreneurs of Michigan, and here we witness the convergence of talent, opportunity and ambition.

From cutting-edge startups to established enterprises, these women are not only driving economic growth but also championing diversity and inclusion in the business world.

> Amanda Lewan, Co-Founder, Bamboo Detroit | Co-working Space

Launched in 2013 in downtown Detroit, Amanda Lewan co-founded Bamboo. The objective was to create flexible workspaces and a sense of community within the Detroit start-ups ecosystem.

It took off and since then, she’s become a leader and facilitator of news and information for local entrepreneurs. Besides, she also serves as Program and Mentor Liason at Backstage Capital Detroit.

> Dr. Lingjia Tang, Co-Founder, Clinc

Dr. Lingjia Tang is Co-Founder of Clinc. She co-founded the company, which is into computer software in 2015 with her husband, Jason Mars. Recently, the company closed its Series B, securing $52M in the process.

In addition to leading their Ann Arbor-based start-up, she is involved in other things. She is co-runs the research group, Clarity-Lab and is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan.

> Melissa Butler, Founder, The Lip Bar

Melissa Butler is a Shark Tank veteran and beauty innovator. She is the Founder and powerhouse behind The Lip Bar: a vegan, cruelty-free cosmetics line, based in downtown Detroit. It is indeed a unique brand.

What is prominent is that the line is featured in Target stores across the US and is backed by cosmetics giant and former SheaMoisture CEO, Richelieu Dennis.

> Yelista Jean-Charles, Founder & CEO, Healthy Roots Dolls | Consumer Goods

The normal scene is that it’s not often that the toy category gets a piece of ‘startup action’, but Yelista Jean-Charles managed to bring about a change. She’s the Founder and CEO of Healthy Roots: a toy company that produces dolls and storybooks that teach natural hair care to young girls of colour.

She was recently awarded $100k at Detroit Demo Day, which allowed her to bring on the company’s inaugural hire. Since launching her company in 2014, she has joined a coveted group of black women recognized as America’s fastest – growing group of entrepreneurs. 

> Julia Winter, Co-Founder, Alchemie

Co-founded with a business strategist and game developer, Julia Winter launched Alchemie, an eLearning company – to create the next generation of teaching and learning tools.

With a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, she has established herself as a leading figure in STEM within the Midwest. Plus recently, she featured in Crain’s lists of Notable Women in STEM.

> Jessica Willis, Founder & CEO, PocketNest

Jessica Willis is CEO and Founder of PocketNest: a free fintech app that makes financial planning easy. She is indeed, on a mission to help the world create a complete and personal financial plan.

Awards came her way too.  In 2018, she was awarded $10k at the 2018 Women Up & Pitch Competition.
Source: https://www.purpose.jobs/blog/6-detroit-female-founders-to-watch

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