18 female entrepreneurs to support in Raleigh

From making hemp candies to building an inclusive work environment, these women are making a difference in the Triangle.

Stacy, the owner of Usu Company Candles, holding one of her products.

Stacy Ahua creates hand-poured candles with a story.

Provided by @usucompanycandles

We asked our readers (and your City Editors) to spotlight their favorite Raleigh entrepreneurs. Here are 18 women making a difference in and around the City of Oaks.

  • Alicia Belle | Founder, Mega | “Mega is a really cool concept gym and it’s really well-run and managed. Alicia creates lots of charity and donation events to benefit local organizations through Mega.” – Corey B.
  • Angela Weir and Teresa Sawyer | Co-founders, Dementia Capable CARES | “They are working to increase the understanding of dementia by educating and engaging businesses and community groups to build a more dementia-friendly community.” – Julie K.
  • Emily Grey | Owner, The Flourish Market | “She’s awesome. Terrific business of women empowerment.” – Elease B.
Emily Grey sitting in her store The Flourish Market with her dog.

The Flourish Market currently partners with 200+ brands that drive positive social change.

Provided by @theflourishmarket

  • Emma Macadam | Owner, Redhead Hemp | “Emma is a natural hemp advocate and takes pride in her products. She doesn’t just make her own high-quality candies — she also educates her customers and has such a welcoming demeanor. Plus, her dog Odie is always there to greet you when you walk into the shop.” - City Editor Cat
  • Erica Heilmann | Owner, Gathering Gallery | “Erica has created a for-profit business with nonprofit community benefits. Her retail store sources most of its merchandise locally, promotes diversity, and hires adults with disabilities.” – Robert C.
  • Gabi Angelini | Co-founder, Gabi’s Grounds | “She is amazing. Nobody would hire her because she has a disability so she started two nonprofit companies and employs over 40 people with special abilities.” – Mary A.
  • Georgia Tardy | Artist and founder, The Artist Lounge | “Georgia has taken her involvement in the Raleigh arts community to the next level by launching The Artist Lounge, an arts-centered event space designed to foster creativity. Georgia is innovative, genuine, and honestly so cool.” – City Editor Anne
  • Jamie Sharpe | Owner, Apex Pilates | “Jamie is a first class Pilates teacher who improves the health of her clientele in an amazing way. She helps folks live longer, healthier lives.” – Gray L.
Artist Jane Cheek in front of one of her colorful creations.

Pro tip: You can find one of Jane Cheek’s colorful installations in the NCMA shop.

Provided by Jane Cheek

  • Jane Cheek | Artist | “Jane is a light. In addition to bringing fluid, inclusive, and transformative art installations to communities throughout NC via public art installations, she creates a welcoming space in the creative and artistic world. She openly shares her experience and knowledge to help others and has established herself as a model for how to grow and expand as an independent artist.” – Stacy A.
  • Karen Albright | Founder and owner, BodyLase | “Karen is an inspiring businessperson and a truly wonderful person. BodyLase has helped thousands of individuals in our community improve their self-confidence.” – Joseph V.
  • Lindsay Wrege | CEO and co-founder, 321 Coffee | “Lindsay is building inclusion in Raleigh by creating jobs for people with disabilities.” – Katie O.
Emma Macadam in her Five Points shop.

Try Emma Macadam’s CBD gummies.

Photo by Emma Macadam

  • Sara Fitzpatrick | Owner, The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery | Sara is a selfless boss, a truly fearless leader, and oh so kind. Sara chooses several charities to fundraise for during the year. The shop puts on coat and food drives, buys ads in local school papers, and donates sales from a day’s profits to different causes.” – Arlen M.
  • Sara Maria (Finley) Blanton | Founder and executive director, The Raleigh Music Collective | “Sara Maria has bootstrapped this organization together into a rigorous and expansive classical music program. She is empowering students from a wide range of social and economic backgrounds, many of whom from the refugee community. She brings people of all different backgrounds into a shared pursuit of beauty, excellence, and friendship.” – D.B.
  • Stacy Ahua | Owner, Usu Company Candles | “Stacy spreads the message of her family stories and Nigerian culture through her candles. She is spreading cultural awareness and encouraging people to tell and honor their family stories and values.” – Shay K.
  • Utica Cason | Executive director and founder, SOAR Outreach | “Utica addresses a much needed social economic issue in the community — hygiene insecurity. The organization has distributed over $14K in donated hygiene items in Wake County since the beginning of its Healthy Hygiene Habits program, which launched in 2018.” – Sophia B.
  • Winter Holbrook and Leah Ward | Co-owners, Barre-Up | “These two ladies own the most kick-ass studio in the Triangle. It is such an inclusive and welcoming environment — everyone truly feels like family when they walk in the door. They provide a safe place for physical and mental exercise.” – Katie W.
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