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Meet Beth!

FirstName LastName

Launching Businesses and Changing Lives

Beth Schoenfeldt inspires girls and women all over the country to start their own businesses. Ladies Who Launch, the business that Beth co-founded, teaches women from all walks of life to realize their ability to run their own businesses and their own lives.

Describe a typical day at work.

There are no typical days! I work hard, but if I want, I get to do yoga in the middle of the day or go skiing during the week, and then work on the weekend. The reason more women are staring businesses at almost three times the rate of men is so they can have more freedom, flexibility, and control in their lives. That’s very important to me.

Describe the process of creating Ladies Who Launch.

My partner and I saw a need for something that wasn’t being addressed: the trend of women starting businesses in order to achieve more flexibility in their lives. We also saw that women launched businesses differently than men. Since many women start their own businesses because they want to have more time for their families or to do the things they love, they often don't grow their businesses as rapidly as they could. They may keep their companies small so that they don't have to hire employees or they only work three days a week, whatever fits into their own personal lifestyle.

We decided to create an organization that addressed, promoted, and supported that.

Where did the idea and name come from?

Our business was originally going to be a magazine, but then my business partner Victoria, decided to hold an event called Ladies Who Launch and everyone told us, “That’s what you should call your business!” Everything just jumped off from there. It happened by accident; you just never know where things can end up.

Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit? What were some of the major steps in your career path?

I didn’t, because I never learned about it in school, so I never really saw it as an option for me. Then I started working for an Internet start-up company and I enjoyed it a lot more than working for a big company. I felt like there was more creativity and freedom. Nobody was really in charge and it was chaos, but I liked it. When I figured out that I liked that type of work environment I decided that I wanted to start my own company. I left my last job knowing that I was ready to start something on my own and now, because of Ladies Who Launch, more and more women are getting to do the same thing.

You created the incubators program, which is a really important part of Ladies Who Launch. Can you explain what it is and why it is so important?

The incubator is an environment where you can grow something, even if it’s just an idea or dream. The main idea is that if you want to be creative and if you want to start a business the best thing to do is to hang out with other people starting businesses, because you start to inspire each other. It’s contagious!

It’s important to surround yourself with supportive people, For example, if you want to be an athlete, hang out with other athletes, or if you want to be an actress, hang out with other people who want the same thing. You can learn from and motivate each other.

Ladies Who Launch is a great example of the Girls Inc. mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Why do you think it is so important to encourage women and girls to take risks as entrepreneurs and pursue business ventures?

Launching a business or creative project is the best thing for your self-esteem. If you want to be happier or improve your self-esteem, start something or go after something you’ve always wanted to try. Take a step in the direction of your dream: if you want to be an actress, take an acting class; if you want to be a jewelry designer, start going to craft shows, take a class, buy some beads and put something together.

The number two reason women start their own businesses is because they are passionate about something and they take a chance. Women want to be passionate about what they do.


Your business stresses the importance of networking (i.e. making friends who can provide support, advice, and resources.) Can you share a story about your experience with networking and how it got you where you are today?

Everything in the business world and life is about connecting. For women and girls, connecting is what helps them grow; it’s such an important part of the process. For example, women are more likely than men to talk to their friends about something they like; they are also more likely than men to talk to someone about what they don’t like. If you think back to early civilization the men were out hunting and the women were building communities, and it’s still really important for women to feel connected.

FirstName LastNameI have a lot of mentors, who have helped me over the years, but there is one specific woman whom I worked for in a corporation. She’s always been someone I go to for advice.

One of your success stories is a 10-year-old girl named Alice who created Frou Frou Flip Flops, which is an online shoe store that only sells flip flops decorated with ribbon by Alice and her family. Alice donates the proceeds to charity. Do you have a lot of younger members? What tips or advice do you have for girls who might have a business idea?

Right now we have mostly women, but we’re testing this program called Young Ladies Who Launch, which is designed for students. We take stories about women launching business and share them with young girls and help them to develop their ideas about entrepreneurship. We are currently testing the program at a high school in Ohio, but we are hoping to bring it to girls of all ages all over the country.

Beth’s tips for girls who have a business idea:

  • Get started doing something! Take some steps in the direction of what you want to do, try it out and see if you like it. If you want to be a handbag designer, create some bags and give them to your friends, see if you like doing it.

  • If you want to be an accountant, take a class to see if you like it.

  • Go get a summer job doing what you want to do.

  • Go work for a small business where you will be more likely to see every aspect of how the business works.

What do you do for fun?

I am lucky that I love what I do so much, that its fun for me. I also like yoga, skiing, cycling, going to the movies, traveling, and my business allows me to do all of those things.

What's Next?

  • Meet more inspiring girls and women.