The number of women-owned businesses in the United States has doubled in the last 20 years, and so has the revenue they generated, according to American Express OPEN’s annual State of Women-Owned Businesses report. Nearly 850 women-owned businesses start up every day. As of 2017, there were nearly 12 million women-owned businesses in the country, employing 9 million people and generating $1.7 trillion in revenue.

This article published courtesy of Pennsylvania Business Central

One study by MassChallenge and BCG followed 350 startup companies and their funds. Those with male-only founders received $2.12 million in investment funds and generated $662,000. Startups with a female co-founder or entirely female team received $935,000 in investment funds, and generated $730,000 in revenue.

Women-owned businesses are worth celebrating and investing in. Here are a few local startups with women at the helm.

Project Vive

Founder: Mary Elizabeth McCulloch

“Millions of people with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy and ALS, cannot speak. Many lack access to assistive technology because of high cost, lack of training and limited control sensor options. Project Vive has created the Voz Box system, an affordable, smart, speech generating device (SGD) that addresses the unmet need for every voice to be heard,” says McCulloch.

“Our goal is to further develop and implement an easily distributable, scalable SGD system that is adaptable to changes in people, technologies and social structures. Designed to be controlled by people with diverse abilities, personalizeable input methods include direct selection, off-the-shelf assistive technology switches and wearable sensors.

“Project Vive has designed assistive technology sensors made for resource constrained settings that can detect small, low-motor controlled movements such as with finger, elbow, knee, foot and eye movement. Project Vive’s technology has gone through five iterations, and we’ve locked over 200 hours of user-centered design and co-creation into a low-cost SGD for people with disabilities to communicate, control and connect with their world. Our plan is to bring this technology to people in the United States and abroad.”


Founder: Maria Diamanti

“KinderMinder is a mobile application that is designed to incentivize early adolescents, with games and customizable characters, to remember to take their asthma medication and to become active agents in their own health care,” says Diamanti.

“KinderMinder was originally created for a Penn State pitch competition that had to do with coming up with an application idea that addresses a health problem. My team and I focused on pediatric asthma which was really important to me, since I have suffered from asthma since I was 2 years old. After placing 2nd in the pitch competition, I realized how important this idea was and decided to take it to the next level.

“As a 22-year-old, my parents still call me to remind me to take my medication, and that’s exactly what I want to change with KinderMinder. I want to be able to help kids become more independent when it comes to their health and provide parents with a peace of mind that their kids can take care of their health condition. In the future, I am hoping to expand the mobile application to other pediatric conditions and make KinderMinder a household name.”

Actuated Medical

Founder: Maureen L. Mulvihill

“At Actuated Medical, Inc. (AMI), our Innovative Motion medical devices incorporate electronically controlled actuation to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. AMI’s startup ecosystem embraces quality (certified ISO 13485; quality management system), yet allows the Team the freedom to apply agile design to cost effectively and quickly develop devices,” says Mulvihill.

“With 18 issued patents and over 40 applications pending, we leverage our intellectual property, trade secrets and regulatory files to expand our product portfolio. We seek partnerships to bring our devices to patients and clinicians. Our process focuses on de-risking each device to the point that it is attractive for a product acquisition by a strategic partner or private equity group. AMI’s first product, the TubeClear System, is patented, FDA cleared, CE Marked and building sales revenue across the USA. The business model also includes strategic partnership arrangements. In February 2018, we formed an equity partnership with Ex Machina, LLC (Houston, TX) and in June 2018, an equity partnership with Rain Management, LLC (Asheville, NC).”

Align Advisors

Founder: Lindsay Fairman

Align Advisors is a technical leadership firm that designs and assesses software products for commercialization. Managing Director Lindsay Fairman works with executives, investors and innovation stakeholders to minimize risk and increase profitability. With over 15 years of industry and entrepreneurial experience, Fairman bridges technical leadership gaps so strategy, technology and bottom-line align.

Maake Magazine

Founder: Emily Burns

Maake Magazine is an independent, artist-run publication that showcases the work of emerging artists both in print and online. With each issue, the publication seeks to promote innovative and experimental contemporary articles, as well as encourage conversation and community. Not only does Maake publish articles, it also writes full-length interviews on featured artists and hosts exhibitions. The company prides itself on combining fiber, textiles, ceramics, painting, digital, design and more to create a place to celebrate and admire groundbreaking work. Through the magazine, website and social media, the Maake team is able to promote artists from across the country.

Pop Up Ave

Founder: Andrea Groznik

Andrea Groznik and her husband Brad started Pop Up Ave in State College after moving to the area from New York. They missed urban flea markets filled with cool, handmade and vintage items affordable enough to buy on a whim, and wondered about starting their own in their new hometown.

Starting a small business is daunting, she says, because of all the hats you have to wear. But the key is knowing which hats you don’t have to wear. There are multiple resources available to startups in many communities, as well as people willing to pitch in. It just takes putting yourself out there and asking for help.

For Andrea, Pop Up Ave was “just another wacky business idea,” but when she and her husband happened to meet the owner of a parking lot who was willing to rent it to them and the Central PA Convention and Visitors Bureau and Downtown State College Improvement District were willing to sponsor them, suddenly it seemed possible. A friend designed their logo, they received free legal counsel from Happy Valley LaunchBox, the Central PA Festival of the Arts committee gave them pointers and Penn State’s Small Business Development Center helped them organize their ribbon cutting. Before they knew it, it was happening — and it wouldn’t have if they had kept the idea to themselves.


Founder: Linsey Covert

TEAMology, LLC is an award-winning startup that provides educators with an easy to use proprietary cloud-based software. Programming uses a TEAM model that uniquely integrates social and emotional learning (SEL), career readiness language and bullying prevention tools and curriculum to reach every K-8 student and meets Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations.

The company offers a first-of-its-kind web platform that houses the curriculum and provides opportunities for school-to-school collaboration; it is a holistic school-wide program that provides character education, career education and 21st-century skills that have positive life effects far beyond the classroom.

School safety has become a focus for administrators, and research has shown the need for implementation of school wide social emotional learning programming to create a more positive school climate where students feel a sense of belonging and safety. TEAMology provides a solution that provides the necessary tools and resources to create an inclusive environment. Six multi-cultural characters promote six life foundational skills (Helping Others, Positive Change, Anti-Bullying, Problem Solving, Resiliency and Leadership) in addition to six career pathways (Human Services, Health Services, Industrial Technology & Engineering, Natural Resources, Business & Marketing and Arts & Communication). To show the connectivity of the skills, each character is aligned with a piece of a house that is built as students move through the curriculum. The slogan for self-reflection is “Are YOU in the house?” helping students to reflect on their own behaviors and goals while understanding their responsibility to their peers and ultimately their community.