Press release

6 Nov 2019

EY Announces 13 Women Founders Selected for the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ Program Class of 2019

Innovative entrepreneurs comprising this year’s class have an average annual growth rate of 136%

Press contact
Lisa Schiffman

Director, Brand, Marketing and Communications, Ernst & Young LLP; EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ Program Founder

Strategic marketing and communications leader. Passionate advocate for entrepreneurs and gender parity.

Related topics Entrepreneurship
  • Innovative entrepreneurs comprising this year’s class have an average annual growth rate of 136%. 
  • More than two-thirds of the companies have been professionally funded, a big uptick from prior years.

EY announces the 13 women founders selected for the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ North America Class of 2019. The program, now in its 12th year, identifies ambitious women entrepreneurs who are leading thriving organizations and provides the access, advisors and resources needed to scale their companies to their full potential as market-leading innovators. Program engagement offers participants executive education and introductions to the vast EY global entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as the Entrepreneurial Winning Women community worldwide.

This year’s class of high-growth, women-led companies across the US and Canada span a variety of industries. More than one-third of the companies are technology-driven, with offerings ranging from innovative, money-saving payment solutions for SMEs to patented textile technology designed to cool the wearer in minutes. Other sectors include clean energy financing, nutrition-driven food production, and innovative health and wellness products.

And for the first time, a majority of those selected for the program are professionally funded. Two-thirds of the Class of 2019 are financed by angels, venture funds, private equity or a combination of them.

“The Winning Women program demonstrates EY’s long-standing global commitment to advancing women entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said Lisa Schiffman, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Global Program Leader and Director, Ernst & Young LLP. “In combining practical education, access to our specialized talent and ecosystem of award-winning entrepreneurs, and a like-minded peer community, this evergreen program provides what has been eluding many women founders. For those who embrace all or some of what we offer, the impact on business growth and overall accomplishment can be both immediate and long-lasting.”

The program targets women business owners who are founding CEOs of any US or Canadian privately held company less than 10 years old. Company revenues typically range from at least $2m to as much as $30m annually.

This year’s class convened for the first time at a two-day orientation in New York City this September. The entrepreneurs took part in educational sessions that included pitch coaching, TRACOM Social Styles® and building a public profile. On an ongoing basis, Entrepreneurial Winning Women take part in additional workshops, conferences and training sessions; become part of the EY global community of more than 500 Entrepreneurial Winning Women represented in programs on every continent; and forge connections to a vast network of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ alumni throughout the world.

The Class of 2019 will be officially recognized during the Strategic Growth Forum® US, November 13-17, 2019, in Palm Springs, California. Founded and produced by EY, the Forum is the country’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies, bringing together more than 2,000 of the nation’s top CEOs, entrepreneurs, advisors, investors and other business leaders.

“It is crucial that as advisors to the ambitious, we put an increased focus on women business owners and encourage female entrepreneurship,” said Lee Henderson, EY Americas Growth Markets Leader. “These leaders are not only critical to our economies but also to the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Entrepreneurial Winning Women program encourages these savvy founders to scale their businesses past what they may have felt possible. I am endlessly inspired by this program, its participants and the opportunities they create individually and together.”

North America Class of 2019

The 2019 members of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women North America program are:

  • Jessica Bailey, Greenworks Lending (Connecticut): Greenworks provides commercial real estate owners and developers with advantaged financing to improve energy performance. Having innovated a public-private partnership framework that encourages energy-efficient buildings, Greenworks makes it simple and cost-effective for real estate owners to improve their bottom line.
  • Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli (California): Kuli Kuli is a food startup pioneering moringa, a protein-rich leafy green that is more nutritious than kale and has anti-inflammatory benefits rivaling turmeric. Kuli Kuli’s moringa powders, bars and wellness shots are sustainably sourced from African women farmers and sold in 10,000 US stores.
  • Chris-Tia Donaldson, Thank God It’s Natural (Illinois): Thank God It’s Natural (TGIN) is redefining what it means to be beautiful with its line of natural hair products that help women fall in love with their curls. TGIN products are sold in over 10,000 stores, including several major beauty, retail and supermarket chains.
  • Breezy Griffith and Val Griffith, Skinny Dipped (Washington): Skinny Dipped was born out of a desire to create a delicious snack that threads the needle between health and indulgence. It has innovated a line of thinly dipped dark chocolate almonds that are dusted in a variety of finishes, from peanut butter to mint. Skinny Dipped believes in the democratization of food and that everyone deserves to have access to healthy and nutritious snacks.
  • Kathrin Hamm, Bearaby (New York): Bearaby is a sleep aid company with the mission to make natural sleep available to everyone. By combining sleep science with functional design, Bearaby created a new type of weighted blanket made from sustainable eucalyptus-derived fabric. Plastic-free and without any artificial filling materials, Bearaby’s blankets foster a deeper, more natural sleep cycle, helping people sleep naturally and feel better.
  • Mary-Cathryn Kolb, brrr° (Georgia): brrr° is an innovator in cooling textile technology, with patented methods that combine natural cooling minerals, active wicking and rapid drying to create a “Triple Chill Effect” that instantly and continuously draws heat and moisture away from the skin.
  • Dionne Laslo-Baker, PhD, DeeBee’s Organics (Victoria, BC): DeeBee’s Organics innovates clean-label, mouth-watering takes on nostalgic snacks. DeeBee’s products — including its blockbuster shelf-stable, no-sugar-added, organic fruit freezer pop, SuperFruit Freezies — are available across North America. The company has recently partnered with a multinational entertainment conglomerate to disrupt the snacking category with delicious, nutritious new SuperSnacks.
  • Diana Lee, Constellation Agency (New York): Constellation Agency is a digital marketing agency with patent-pending advertising technology solutions that help any client or advertiser seamlessly build, review and publish content to their customers with unparalleled speed, accuracy and brand compliance. The agency currently offers turnkey and self-serve digital solutions to more than 650 client franchises.
  • Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant (Florida): Fattmerchant is an integrated payment technology provider revolutionizing payment processing through real-time data analytics and first-ever flat subscription pricing. Fattmerchant combines all the ways a business accepts payments into a single aggregate view providing real-time data and better, faster decisions through a streamlined payment experience. Fattmerchant processes over $5 billion in payments annually.
  • Allie Magyar, Hubb (Washington): Hubb is technology for the meetings and events industry, powering attendee experiences by collecting, managing and marketing event content. From speakers, sessions, sponsors and sales pipeline growth through meetings management, Hubb provides streamlined business processes and data analytics for innovation.
  • Lara O’Connor Hodgson, NOW Corp (Georgia): NOWaccount is the first B2B payment system that enables a business to receive payment immediately, in a way that feels like accepting a credit card for payment (no loan or factoring), even when its customers require invoices with later payment terms. NOW Corp allows clients to take on larger customers knowing they will get paid immediately, without the risk of when or if the customer pays.
  • Socorro Vazquez, Toro Construction Corp. (Illinois): One of the fastest-growing Hispanic woman-owned construction companies in Chicago, Toro takes on the role of prime contractor for all project sizes, provides design input and engineering solutions, and performs project management services to coordinate specialty trades for commercial and residential projects.

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About EY Growth Markets

EY Growth Markets professionals connected across the globe are trusted business advisors to CEOs, owners and entrepreneurs leading private and family enterprises, including those managing increasing flows of private capital worldwide. We have a long legacy advising these ambitious leaders in realizing their ambitions, faster. With private entities making up more than 90% of EY clients, our professionals appreciate the owner mindset and possess the know-how needed to think differently about delivering business results, practically and sustainably.