It’s been a promising year for women in America. Female flag officers are now at the helm of two U.S. service academies, Facebook doyenne Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In has inspired many to change their approach to work, and the number of moms who are their family’s breadwinner hit a record high.
Yet there’s much work to be done when it comes to entrepreneurship. Each month, men are still twice as likely to open a business than women, according to Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity data. A recent Dow Jones VentureSource report says just 1.3 percent of privately held companies had a female founder in the 15 years ending in 2012.
So, thinking of that last number, just who makes up that 1.3 percent? How are they succeeding? Here, we talk with a few women who’ve made that leap, striking out on their own to take that entrepreneurial journey—and their advice to women who are considering or have already started down their own business paths.