Need inspiration for your biz for 2012? Check out these amazing business women from 2011.

Need inspiration for your small biz?

Looking for some role models to keep you motivated when you are feeling overwhelmed?

Who says that women are not capable of establishing careers in business and balancing home life at the same time?

Women, for the record, may still learn a lot from their male counterparts in the business world but they have now gained a very solid foothold in making their own names all by their often nderestimated “girl power”.

Less egotistical, intuitive and compassionate are just some of the qualities that Australian businesswomen possess, making their presence a threat to male Aussies in the entrepreneurial world. So, move over blokes because the sheilas are here to teach you some tips on how to step up your game.

Here are Australia’s top 10 female entrepreneurs to inspire you:

10. Diana Williams

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Founder of Fernwood Women’s Health Clubs

Who would have thought that her self-experience drawn motivation to engage women into weight training at a time when the fitness industry was losing ground would lead to the creation of one of the most successful business franchise models in Australia. Williams’ revenue is estimated at $88.2 million to date. Thanks to her vision of operating the business on a national scale with 77 health clubs and having more than 80,000 members across the country.

Making this concept a concrete reality in the business world is not only bounded by her desire of making money but also with the passion for giving women of all walks of life the chance to empower themselves by taking care of their health. This she expresses in the Venus Program which she has developed in her Fernwood Foundation. The program supports the company’s mantra “We exist to empower women to shine!” which aims to help women boost their physical image as well as their self-esteem.
9. Gina Rinehart

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Chairman of Hancock Prospecting

Entering Hancock Prospecting after the death of her father, Lang Hancock, founder of the said company, with cash-flow problems and a 14-year legal battle over Hancock’s assets, Gina’s determination to bring back Hancock Prospecting back to its feet paved the way for making the company the leader in the iron ore industry in West Australia.

One of her accomplishments as a businesswoman is naming a mountain range (Hancock Range) after her family in 1999 as a form of commemoration for their contribution to the pastoral and mining industry in the Pilbara region. Not only that, she even has acquired 10% stake in Network Ten, aka Channel Ten, which is one of the major television networks in Australia. Soon afterwards, she did the same thing with Fairfax Media Limited which is a big departure from her previous corporate transactions.

8. Therese Rein

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Founder of Ingeus
Before she became the first wife of Kevin Rudd, Australia’s Prime Minister from 2007-2010, she already has gained prominence being the founder of the international employment agency Ingeus. This company has become the major provider of employment in Australia since its birth in 1989 as an, initially, a small rehabilitation company called Work Directions. However, she was forced to sell the company in 2007 after her husband became Prime Minister. Her revenue is worth more than $120 million.

Therese’s accomplishments is not only limited to establishing an employment provider that has more than 70 offices in 8 countries including Australia. She was bestowed by the Australian Human Rights Commission in December 2010 with the Human Rights Medal for her dedication to protecting human rights and providing proper equal employment to people of different social and historical backgrounds, especially those with physical disability.

7. Janine Allis

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Founder and CEO of Boost Juice

Boost Juice was inspired by the smart observation of Janine Allis who noticed the widespread of juice bars in the United States. Having thought of this together with her husband, Janine decided to bring this idea of opening a juice bar in Adelaide in 2000. This move led to an estimated revenue of Janine at $143.7 million based on 1,850 stores established across Australia and in UK, Ireland, Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, Macau and South Africa.

Based on reports, Janine’s idea of putting a juice bar in Adelaide sparked a craze among Australians over juice bars that after two years of the operation of the first store, a new store was opened every four days. This has established Boost Juice to be the fastest growing franchise chain in Australia.
6. Iris Lustig-Mar

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Co-owner of Lustig & Moar
Founded by the late Ted Lustig and his then son-in-law, Max Moar, Lustig & Moar is one of the most prestigious property developers in Melbourne. This company is known for having developed Park Hyatt in East Melbourne and Grand Hyatt on Collins Street. After the death of Ted Lustig in 2003, Iris took over his position and took control of the company together with her former husband Max. She also inherited the office building and other property assets of the company. Iris’s revenue amounts to $154 million.

5. Charlotte Vidor

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Co-owner of Toga Group
Having established Toga Group with husband Ervin Vidor, Charlotte Vidor is another successful female entrepreneur who has made a name in the property development industry in New South Wales. The growth and success of this company can be attested by its 1,800 employees as well as its interests in funds management and aquaculture. Charlotte Vidor’s net worth is estimated at $285 million.

4. Maxine Horne

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Co-founder of Vita Group

Together with her husband David McMahon, Maxine Horne established Fone Zone in Brisbane with its first store on the Gold Coast in 1995. Fone Zone is considered to be Australia’s most successful specialist mobile communications retailer which is largely independently owned by the couple. This company specializes in mobile communications and leads in advancement in mobile technologies.

The growth of the company is attributed to the hard work and and unique business skills of Maxine who leads a staff of almost 800. This even led to the creation of 123 company-owned stores and 22 dealers across the country. Maxine Horne’s net worth is estimated at $ 297.8 million.

3. Julia Ross

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Founder of Ross Human Directions

Julia Ross founded Ross Human Directions in 1989 in the midst of the most undesirable circumstances in her life: breakdown of her marriage, getting pregnant and a limited opportunity for a senior corporate position especially for a single pregnant woman like her. Instead of getting torn by this situation and giving up on her ambition, she went on her own in establishing one of the most successful and largest recruitment and HR services providers in Australia. The company has expanded its operations in other countries Britain, New Zealand, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore.

At present, Julia is the managing director as well as a major shareholder of the company having a market capitalization of $32 million. Her revenue is estimated at $392.9 million which lands her the number 3 spot among the most successful female entrepreneurs in Australia.

2. Naomi Milgrom

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Owner of Sussan Group

Bestowed with the Ernst & Young Champion of Entrepreneurship Award, Naomi Milgrom has established her name in the business of fashion successfully as she continued to take control of Sussan Group after buying it out from her parents Marc and Eva Besen and siblings in 2003. Naomi’s responsibilities include looking after 550 stores and 4,500 employees around Australia with the House of Sussan, Suzanne Grae and Sportsgirl under the company. Holding the 2nd spot as one of the richest and most powerful Australian businesswoman, Naomi’s net worth is estimated at $496 million.

1. Jan Cameron

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This Tasmanian business powerhouse has gained fame in founding outdoor wear chain Kathmandu which she later sold at about $300 million in 2006 to a private equity company. But this move just led to her buying and restructuring Australian Discount Retail in April 2009 which is now Retail Adventures. This company manages operations of the chains for Chickenfeed, Sam’s Warehouse, Crazy Clark’s, Go-Lo and my place It’s Home, with 8,000 employees and over 330 stores and annual sales revenue nearing $1 billion. She leads the female pack being the number one entrepreneur in Australia. – International Business Development Australia


Do you feel someone was missed in this list? Then send in your suggestions by posting below.

3 responses to “Need inspiration for your biz for 2012? Check out these amazing business women from 2011.”

  1. Lovely stories Sue, even if I did have a bit of trouble identifying with those who obviously didn’t have any “real” financial challenges.
    How about sharing some of the stories on our own Inspiring Women successful entrepreneurs, who may not be as well known but would be just as inspirational.

  2. Jo Chivers says:

    great list Sue, very inspiring…and good to see some property developers up there…may be hope for me yet! Jo Chivers

  3. Sue says:

    Hi Jo, I have met some of Charlotte’s staff over the years. They always say she is amazing and whilst others her age have retired, Charlotte still comes into the office each day.
    She obviously loves what she does.

    Wendy- I plan to do exactly that with our members + others as well! Part of teh reson why I am wanting to catch up with you!