World’s Female Start-up Business Owners –A Change to Maximise Opportunity

Thinking about a start-up business that is renowned all over the world, they seem to be dominated by men. This can be referred from the country that gathers many start-up businesses together like the United States that there are private companies at the “Unicorn” level which value more than 1000 million US dollars for about 134 companies (information from 2018). Surprisingly, there are only 14 female founders in the start-up business.

If going in a little deeper, we will discover that there are quite a number of women that initiate the new business ideas and they are the game changers that bring about convenience to our daily lives. The kind of idea that based on personal experience and delicacy that only women can do the job!


If the name “Grab” is mentioned, surely everybody would know about it. All along the light seems to be shone only on “Anthony Tan” and very few people know that there is another female co-founder of this business that originates from Malaysia who was Anthony’s classmate in MBA program at Harvard Business School, “Tan Hooi Ling”.

Instead of being a front line person, Hooi Ling prefers to support the business behind the scene as she understands the core of her Ride Sharing business. This business comes about because she has direct experience as a female commuter who feels “unsafe” when taking a taxi late at night.

Discomfort and insecurity in riding a taxi do not allow Hooi Ling to go to places she would like to go to. Even if she is brave enough to ride a taxi, but her parents will still be worried about her. Thus, she creates Grab out of her discomfort and it was initially named “MyTeksi”.

Hooi Ling said that she and other women in Malaysia encounter the same problem when they have to travel late at night and they are too tired to drive home. There was no GPS to track the location back then and her mother would have to wait for her. She also had to inform her mom on her location, the license plate, and the estimated arrival time. Therefore, the driver setting system is of utmost importance that this business created to ensure safety and erase loopholes that always found in a normal taxis.

Hooi Ling might not be helping to develop the business right after her graduation as she had to pay back the scholarship and gained experience from working in San Francisco. However, Hooi Ling contacted her fellow founders from afar to the point that the business is expanding and highly demanded by society. Hooi Ling returns to Asia once again and develops as well as further expands the business together with her fellow founders. Nowadays, Grab has become the first start-up business that actively plays in the market in this region.

Back to America that there are very few female Unicorn business owners, but if we talk about a business that immensely changes people’s everyday life, the names “Jennifer Hyman” and “Jennifer Fleiss” would appear under the list. Hyman is the CEO and Fleiss is the co-founder of “Rent the Runway”, a branded dress and accessory renting business. Hyman was also featured on Time magazine as one of the most influential people of 2019.

The reason that this duo from Harvard Business School can gain investors’ trust and create a customer base that raises the business value of billion dollars is that they have direct experience in the fashion industry and they found the way to bring about sharing economy. This allows people to get access to branded dresses for special occasions at affordable prices. Moreover, the hidden core of the business is to reduce resources that are often wasted in the textile industry and are harmful for the environment.

Apart from their plan to bring their business into the stock market, Hyman and Fleiss are praised for their organizational management that stand for equality including race, gender, and all labors in the manufacturing. In the present, up to 93% of their employees are women and people of color.

The case studies from 2 different continents prove to us that sometimes, women’s aspect and experience are the factors that can change the world and their creativity is second to none!