9 Women-Run Companies to Invest In

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Women-owned companies in the U.S. are growing at more than double the rate of all other firms. With direct responsibility for 23 million jobs, these companies contribute nearly $3 trillion to the economy.

As women gain a bigger stake in the corporate world, there are more opportunities to add their businesses to your stock portfolio. Whether you invest in ETFs or individual stocks, here are nine women-owned businesses to consider for your portfolio. 

Key Takeaways

  • Women-owned businesses contribute nearly $3 trillion to the U.S. economy and are responsible for 23 million jobs.
  • Women hold just 15% of the Fortune 500 CEO positions but make up more than half of the population in the U.S.
  • Having more women on the boards of companies translates to less excessive risk taking and improves companies’ reputations, earning quality, and sustainability performance.
  • Investing in women-owned and -run businesses like the nine profiled here can help increase diversity and inclusion in American corporations.

Reasons to Invest In Women-Owned or Led Businesses

Many everyday investors want to put their money into businesses that align with their values, whether that’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing or female- or minority-owned companies. Investing in women-owned businesses can make a difference in increasing diversity and representation in corporate America.

Women make up more than half of the U.S. population, but hold just 15% of CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies, as of 2022. What’s more, only 5.2% of chief executives in the country are Black, despite making up approximately 13.6% of the population.

In 2023, women-founded companies received only a tiny slice (2.1%) of total venture capital funding in the U.S. Investing in women-led companies may help narrow the gap of financial inequality. It may lead to better ROI for your investment portfolio, as well.

A Boston Consulting Group study found that startups founded and cofounded by women actually performed better over time than those founded by men: they generated 10% more in cumulative revenue over a five-year period.

According to S&P Global, having more women on the board of a company tends to mean less excessive risk taking as well as improved firm reputation, earnings quality, and sustainability performance.

Top Women-Owned and Women-Run Businesses to Invest In

1. Arista Networks

Arista Networks (ANET) leads the industry in cloud to client networking for large data center, campus, and routing environments.

The company serves more than 9,000 cloud customers, including global Fortune 500 companies. CEO Jayshree Ullal has been at the helm of Arista Networks since early on. In 2014, she led the company to a historic, multibillion-dollar IPO.

Under her leadership, the company continues to expand at a blistering pace. Earnings growth, an important metric to consider when valuing a stock, looks extremely promising for Arista, with a 26.9% growth rate over the past five years and 63.2% in the last year. Return on equity (ROE) for shareholders is also at an impressive 29%.

2. Chart Industries

CEO Jillian Evanko leads Chart Industries (GTLS), a top manufacturer of cryogenic gas processing and storage equipment. Evanko took charge in 2018 after serving as CFO and chief accounting officer, which is particularly significant for a company that heavily relies on acquisitions.

Thanks to solid financial expertise and leadership, Chart’s stock has doubled since 2019. Evanko attributes the company’s success, in large part, to their market dominance and high demand for services. After a 2022 acquisition of Howden, a company larger than Chart in terms of revenues, the company is poised for even bigger growth.

3. The Hershey Company

Hershey (HSY), the confectionery giant, has proven to be a delectable investment under the leadership of CEO Michele Buck. A stalwart at the company since 2005, Buck took over as CEO and board chair in March 2018. Before joining Hershey in 2005, Buck served 17 years at Kraft/Nabisco in numerous senior positions and at the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo.

Her extensive experience in consumer packaged goods has paid off for the company. Since Buck joined the executive team in 2016, Hershey’s stock has nearly tripled, reaching a high of $274.04 in May 2023. The stock has seen sustained growth over the past five years, as the company cemented its position in the market through over 20 acquisitions. 

4. Progressive Corp

Already known as a giant in the insurance field, Progressive’s status has only grown since putting Tricia Griffith in charge. Griffith joined the company over 35 years ago, and worked her way up through several leadership positions before becoming CEO in 2016.

Traded under Progressive Corp (PGR), the company’s stock has a five-year price total return of 199%. Perhaps thanks to their product being a basic need, Progressive stock and revenue performance has held strong through recent economic turmoil and market uncertainty. The company’s annual revenue for 2023 was $62.11B, a 25.2% increase from 2022.

5. Zoetis

Zoetis (ZTS), once part of Pfizer, is now a leading animal health company, which produces medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics. CEO Kristin Peck, who played a pivotal role in Zoetis’ 2013 IPO, has led the company since 2020. She’s been recognized by Barron’s as one of the top CEOs in 2022, and by Fortune as a 2020 Businessperson of the Year.

Global trends favor Zoetis, based on increased spending on livestock healthcare and growing pet ownership. Under Peck’s leadership, Zoetis has delivered a solid 35% in total returns, exceeding the 26% S&P 500 returns for 2023. Earnings per share, a key management metric, have grown consistently since 2011, with a 16.33% increase year-over-year for the quarter ending December 31, 2023. 

6. Sunrun

The nation’s leading home solar, battery storage, and energy services company, Sunrun (RUN), is both women-led and co-founded. CEO Mary Powell has run the company since August 2021. Before that, co-founder and co-executive chair Lynn Jurich held the top position.

Beyond feeling good about supporting sustainable energy, there are compelling financial reasons to invest in Sunrun. The stock has seen some volatility in the past few years, but analysts remain bullish on this buy. In December 2023, the stock crossed above its 200-day moving average of $16.24 with some trades going as high as $18.54 per share. The 200-day moving average is an  important indicator for investors who are looking to spot mid- and long-term trends.

7. Accenture

Accenture (ACN), led by CEO Julie Sweet since 2019, is a global IT-services giant excelling in consulting and outsourcing. With a vast workforce and numerous diamond accounts, Accenture challenges smaller firms in innovation and expertise.

The company benefits from the pairing of a solid reputation and steady, sustainable growth. With $64.1 billion revenue in 2023 and a client list that includes more than 75% of the global top 500 companies, the company has built a considerable economic moat. 

8. Eventbrite

Co-Founder and CEO Julia Hartz leads vision, strategy, and growth at the world’s largest ticketing and event technology platform. Eventbrite attributes its success to her leadership, under which the company has received awards including Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces in the U.S., Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Best Places to Work, and San Francisco Business Times’ Best Places to Work in the SF Bay Area.

Hartz herself has been honored as one of Inc.’s Female Founders 100, Fortune’s 40 Under 40 business leaders, Inc.’s 35 Under 35, and Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.

9. Veracyte

Before passing on the executive role to Marc Stapley, Veracyte (VCYT) founder Bonnie Anderson served as CEO from 2008 to 2016. She remains active in the company via an executive chairman role.  The global diagnostics company provides clinicians with insights and testing to help diagnose and treat cancer. With steady stock performance over the past five years, the company also boasts growing revenue, income, and profit margins, rising 35.1%, 51.6%, and 64.2%, respectively.

What Qualifies as a Woman-Owned Business?

To qualify for the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program, a business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens. Women also must manage day-to-day operations and make long-term decisions. Companies meeting this requirement can also apply for certification as a woman-owned business. Getting certified is not required, but it entitles you to federal contracts and economic resources.

How Do I Start Investing In Women-Owned Businesses?

The first step to adding women-owned or women-led businesses to your portfolio is identifying the companies you’re interested in. Next, you should track their performance, including stock activity, financial health, and any relevant news or events. You may also look at financial statements, earnings reports, and other relevant data. 

If you’re ready to buy, you can work with your brokerage platform or financial advisor to make a purchase. You’ll need to specify the number of shares you want to purchase and the type of order (e.g., market order, limit order).

Instead of handpicking individual companies to invest in, you could invest in an exchange traded fund (ETF) that focuses on or includes female-owned companies. An ETF contains multiple companies and may include a mixture of investment types like stocks, commodities, and bonds.

The Bottom Line

Buying stock in successful, women-led public companies presents an opportunity for everyday investors and for the companies they invest in. Investing in companies like these contributes to more diversity and gender equality in corporate leadership. And research suggests that businesses with diverse leadership, including women, may exhibit better long-term financial results. Before making any investment, be sure to research the company, including stock and overall financial performance.