Jaclyn Johnson, CEO & Founder of Create & CultivateJaclyn Johnson, CEO & Founder of Create & Cultivate

Jaclyn Johnson, CEO and founder of Create & Cultivate, self-funded two multimillion dollar businesses.

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Female founders may not receive as much venture funding as their male counterparts, but they’re more likely to start businesses, according to a recent report by Visa.

In honor of women who are shaping business and leadership, we’ve rounded up 18 female founders who started their companies by themselves and drove them to success.

These women worked, pitched, applied, and saved their way to the funding they needed to grow. Today, they maintain full ownership of their businesses, or otherwise share ownership with their cofounders. They bootstrapped their companies without outside investment (though some may take equity soon).

Subscribe to Business Insider to read how these female founders funded and grew their businesses. 

Deidre Mathis, founder and CEO of Wanderstay hostel

Wanderstay hostel owner, Deidre Mathis.

Wanderstay hostel owner, Deidre Mathis.

Courtesy of Mastercard


Deidre Mathis has won $75,000 in 12 pitch competitions since starting her hostel business, Wanderstay. The hostel is in Houston, Texas, and it offers shared dorms and private rooms for $35 to $60 per night.

She explained how entrepreneurs can nail their business pitches »

Kristie Nystedt, cofounder and CEO of Raleigh Brewing Co.

NystedtK 121

Raleigh Brewing Co. cofounder and CEO, Kristie Nystedt

Courtesy of Raleigh Brewing Company


Kristie Nystedt quit her job in healthcare to start a brewery with her husband with $100,000 of their own savings, $150,000 in a small-business loan, and a loan from a friend. Now she is making over $200,000 a year as CEO of Raleigh Brewing Co

Read how Nystedt created a three-pronged business that paid for itself »

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