As South Florida’s ecosystem continues to grow, we’re starting to see more talented leaders at the helm of startups. They are making the tough calls and leading by example. Here are five Miami-based female entrepreneurs on the rise:
Valerie Nahmad Schimel
Valerie Nahmad Schimel is the co-founder of Munchkin Fun. Munchkin Fun is an online kids calendar and class directory. They publish events and classes throughout South Florida. They were recently winners of the 2014 The Miami Herald Business Challenge.
“Entrepreneurship is in my blood. Literally – I'm a third-generation entrepreneur and have always been antsy working for someone else,” says Schimel.
Paula Celestino is an Argentine-born woman who decided to become an entrepreneur when she was 21-years-old. She is currently the co-founder of Kloset Karma, a fashion exchange social market that allows users to exchange clothing and accessories for points that is used later to exchange for new outfits.
“I’m fascinated with the concept of sustainability and collaborative consumption,” explains Celestino.
Raised in Toronto and Helsinki, with winters in Florida, Johanna Mikkola has a passion for people and places. She is the co-founder of Wyncode, Miami’s first brick-and-mortar coding bootcamp where Mikkola shares years of experience in leadership and team building (She is the consultant of the Canada Cup Floorball Championship). Mikkola acts as a mentor for those seeking business and coding skills, ensuring coders are equipped not just with the technical skills but the soft skills needed to succeed.
“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Great people are those who make others feel that they too can become great’ by Mark Twain.”
To be completely honest, we’ve been watching Felicia Hatcher for while but can’t leave her out of this list. Between being the “Chief Popsicle” of Feverish Ice Cream, bringing Black Girls Code to Miami and starting Code Fever, it is hard not to be on the lookout for what she is up to. She has big plans for the upcoming months with Code Fever, where she will be offering one-day workshops for kids and their parents.
“Surrounding myself with people like my husband, father and other entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to share their failures with me, and at the same time, stretch you to look past your current circumstance and keep pushing forward,” she said in a recent interview.
Rebekah Monson is a journalist and self proclaimed “dork.” She is the co-founder of whereby.us and Code for Miami, Florida’s first Code for America civic hacking brigade. When it comes to building a tech community in South Florida, Monson is resilient.
“We're all working to make Miami a successful tech community, but there is also a lot of energy, especially from our women tech leaders, behind making Miami a better community, period. That's exciting to me, because the things that make great communities — collaboration, diversity, education, leadership — create a ripple effect that triggers innovation, engagement, economic opportunity, and better technology too,” says Monson.
What female entrepreneur inspires you? Share your thoughts with us.