October Is National Women’s Small Business Month

Did you know that in 1972, there were roughly 400,000 women-owned businesses in the United States? Why so low? At the time, a woman needed a male relative to co-sign if they wanted to apply for a business loan or a credit card. If you were single, you could forget about obtaining credit at all. Finally, in 1974 the Fair Credit Opportunity Act was passed (16 years after the credit card was launched) making it illegal to discriminate against applicants based on their gender, religion, race, or national origin. Banks could no longer ask applicants about their marital status, unless it was in states with “community property” laws on the books.

Times have really changed. Today, you can thank the more than 13 million women-owned businesses for generating more than $1.9 trillion worth of revenue and representing 42% of all businesses in the United States. Meet a few #MoreWomenLeading from the Forté family who have launched and led businesses of their own:

  • Rosalinda Mendoza, Foster School of Business, MBA ‘15: CEO and Co-Founder of Mocel Mezcal, a premium spirit specializing in small-batch artisanal mezcal bottled in handmade ceramic containers with exquisite artwork. Rosalinda is also a Forté Fellow alum.
  • Kathryn Bernell, Kellogg School of Management, MBA ‘18: CEO of reHarvest Provisions, convenient superfood smoothie pops that are created from reharvested and repurposed surplus fruits and veggies. Kathryn is also on the Inc. Female Founder 100 list and winner of the 2018 Forté Power Pitch Competition.
  • Lee Gonzalez, INSEAD, MBA ‘12: Principal of L&L Hospitality, a management company specializing in the development and operation of hostels. Lee runs the company alongside her sister, Lauren.
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