RISMEDIA, Oct. 29, 2007-Entrepreneur magazine, in partnership with the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), just released the first-ever ranking of the 50 fastest-growing women-led companies across the U.S. and Canada, and Real Living, the Columbus, Ohio-based real estate firm and franchisor, was named No. 45. Real Living was the only real estate company on the list. The Top 50 generated a combined $2.8 billion in 2006 sales alone (up from $810 million in 2002), employed nearly 12,000 individuals and are each on the fast track to hit even bigger sales ahead.
“We are honored to be included in Entrepreneur magazine’s list and thank the WPO for its support,” said Kaira Sturdivant Rouda, president of Real Living and a member of WPO. “It is especially exciting and inspiring to be recognized along with all of these incredibly successful women.”
Founded in 2002, Real Living burst onto the real estate scene with the goal of changing the face of real estate. With a background in marketing and branding, Rouda created the brand with female consumers in mind. Women control or direct 91% of all real estate decisions and comprise more than 60% of the real estate work force. To Rouda, it seemed time to acknowledge that with a brand. The strategy has paid off. Once just an Ohio-based company, the franchisor now has offices in 20 states.
Rouda recently completed a book about her entrepreneurial insights and branding expertise due out in February titled: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs (www.RealYouIncorporated.com).
“Women-owned businesses have been growing in number at twice the rate of all firms for some time, yet their successes still largely go under the radar,” said Rieva Lesonsky, senior vice president and editorial director of Entrepreneur. “Our ranking, recognizing the accomplishments of these remarkable entrepreneurial women, should inspire millions of other existing and aspiring women business owners to pursue their goals.”
Marsha Firestone, president and founder of the WPO, said, “The fastest-growing businesses in the Top 50 are all rapidly building on existing success and having a tremendous impact on the U.S. economy. The ranking also shows the diversity of their business ventures, from IT consulting/engineering to industrial construction and advertising.”
Insights from the women leaders of the Top 50 companies can be found with the ranking in the November issue of Entrepreneur. Leaders shared their tips on the importance of hiring and retaining top talent, challenging the status quo, understanding customers and more.
To be eligible for the ranking, the Top 50 businesses were required to be privately held, woman-led companies in the U.S. or Canada and have reached revenue of at least $1 million in 2006. All eligible companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula that combined percentage and absolute growth. From this list, the Top 50 were selected.
All 50 companies will be honored at a special event with the WPO in New York City on Dec. 3, 2007.