Women who organise and manage an enterprise of any kind, but notably a business, are referred to as female entrepreneurs. The percentage of female-owned firms in the United States has been growing at a pace of 5% per year since 1997, indicating that female entrepreneurship has been consistently on the rise in the country during the 20th and 21st centuries. This growth led to the emergence of affluent women who had achieved success on their own, such as Oprah Winfrey, Meg Whitman, Coco Chanel, and Diane Hendricks.
Eliza Lucas Pinckney, when 16 years old, is credited with founding the first female-owned company in the United States in 1739. At that time, she was in charge of the plantations that belonged to her family in South Carolina. During the 18th and 19th centuries, many women supplemented their income by running modest companies that they had inherited or had started themselves. They were, in many instances, attempting to keep themselves from falling into poverty or to make up for the loss of income caused by the death of a spouse. At that time, people did not generally consider the activities that these women participated in to be entrepreneurial. Many of them were required to concentrate on the tasks that they had at home. For example, due to long-standing and considerable hurdles to schooling and other career options, traditionally, Black women were consigned to low-paying jobs and domestic duties, notably in the South during the Jim Crow era. As a direct consequence of this, African-American women in the early 20th century established successful businesses in the fields of dressmaking, black hair care, private house domestic service, and midwifery. Women of colour confront obstacles in the form of lower levels of wealth, access to money, racial prejudice, and inadequate networks, all of which have been and continue to be an obstacle to entrepreneurial endeavours. People who come up with concepts for goods and/or services and then put those concepts into practise in the form of a commercial enterprise are referred to as entrepreneurs. This word has traditionally been restricted for use with males alone.
Women who wanted to start their own businesses might find support and encouragement from the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. They would frequently host seminars with successful businesspeople, such as Elizabeth Arden, who would provide their input and guidance to the participants. Throughout the 1950s, women were subjected to a barrage of messages from a variety of sources that instructed them on how to fulfil their roles. Domesticity was the overarching societal issue and a concept that was heavily emphasised during this time period; at the same time, women were expected to manage the demands of their careers in addition to their obligations at home.