Because of its bustling atmosphere, incredible diversity, and wealth of opportunity, New York City has always been a beacon for those keen on taking the entrepreneurial plunge. This year, 236 of the Inc. 5000 companies are located in NYC, and women lead many of them.
Inc. used companies' revenue growth rates between 2011 and 2014 to compile a list of the top 10 lady-led, privately owned businesses based in the NYC metro area.
10. Adafruit Industries
CEO: Limor Fried
Inc. 5000 rank: 620
2014 revenue: $33.2 million
3-year growth rate: 742 percent
Description: Adafruit Industries offers DIY electronics, tools, and kits for makers of all ages. Founded by an MIT engineer, who personally selects, tests, and approves all products for sale.
Startups to watch: "I think businesses that are 'causes' in addition to their core product offering are the most interesting. GoTenna has a social mission, creating people-powered peer-to-peer communication systems."
9. TLN Worldwide Enterprises
CEO: Tamara Nall
Inc. 5000 rank: 534
2014 revenue: $2.7 million
3-year growth rate: 884 percent
Description: TLN Worldwide Enterprises offers regulatory compliance, data analytics, and IT consulting, primarily to federal agencies. With a domestic and international client portfolio, the firm specializes in financial services, health care, and defense. TLN provides top-tier consulting services to clients while taking into consideration the nuisances of cultural and regional dynamics.
Why it's great to run a company in the Big Apple: "NYC is the hub of so much business activity, and it has quick access to D.C., Boston, and other cities that I travel to frequently. I also value all of the small-business programs that NYC has. Many of these programs are free or affordable."
CEO: Amanda Hesser
Inc. 5000 rank: 528
2014 revenue: $6.2 million
3-year growth rate: 890 percent
Description: A home and garden products online retailer that features columns, recipes, and contests on its site and is targeted to home cooks.
Startups to watch: "In the food space, I love that Good Eggs is bringing the farmers' market online. Its food selection is beautiful and thoughtful, and it makes food shopping a true pleasure. Also, Five Acre Farms is sourcing eggs and dairy from local farms and selling it in grocery stores at lower prices than organic. The company is creating a new category of local, mass foods."
7. The Participation Agency
CEO: Ruthie Schulder (above, left)
Inc. 5000 rank: 523
2014 revenue: $2.9 million
3-year growth rate: 895 percent
Description: The Participation Agency conceptualizes and executes experiential campaigns that combine experience, influencer, and digital strategy to achieve impact.
Why it's great to run a company in the Big Apple: "Where do I even begin? Everyone in this city feels the hustle, and being around that energy is super motivating. I work with big brands and cool startups, so this really is the place to be. You meet everyone in NY."
6. Ace Web Optimization
CEO: Sulamit Berkovitz
Inc. 5000 rank: 482
2014 revenue: $3.4 million
3-year growth rate: 979 percent
Description: Specializes in keyword or phrases optimization on Google and other major search engines, paid search marketing, affiliate marketing, search-friendly web design, social networking, and link building.
Startups to watch: "Mobile app development. Everyone has a great idea in their own niche within their life that they feel they can better the world with via an app!"
5. Create Group NYC
CEO: Natalie McDonald
Inc. 5000 rank: 450
2014 revenue: $10.6 million
3-year growth rate: 1,044 percent
Description: An advertising agency that specializes in pharmaceutical brands.
Favorite NYC spot: "Lower Manhattan has an unbelievable range of hangouts to unwind. A great throwback local bar to grab a drink and pull up a chair outside is the Ear Inn, established in 1817 on Spring Street."
CEO: Sarah Carson
Inc. 5000 rank: 390
2014 revenue: $2.7 million
3-year growth rate: 1,236 percent
Description: A women's clothing line made by a self-taught designer that is sold in more than 500 stores globally.
Why it's great to run a company in the Big Apple: "I believe in fair labor practices and fair production practices, and our factories are like family to us. Since you can mass-produce apparel in NYC, there's no limit to the quantities you can produce here, and it's a profitable business. It's more convenient than other U.S. cities or going overseas."
3. ProjectSpan Services
CEO: Nellie J. Torres
Inc. 5000 rank: 208
2014 revenue: $28.7 million
3-year growth rate: 2,074 percent
Description: ProjectSpan provides support services for complex transit and airport infrastructure projects, including safety and quality management, specification and procurement, program management, construction management, installation support, and public safety.
Favorite NYC spot: "I was raised, live, and operate the business in Brooklyn. I enjoy hanging out at Toby's Public House, where can I have a beer, choose between pizza or a salad, watch the USA women's soccer team win the World Cup, and have a great conversation with Bam, the bartender."
CEO: Kathleen Finnegan
Inc. 5000 rank: 192
2014 revenue: $3.9 million
3-year growth rate: 2,243 percent
Description: Centerspan sells and installs medically necessary lifts and ramps that increase access and mobility for people who use wheelchairs or cannot use stairs.
Favorite NYC spot: "Bushwick in Brooklyn has become an up-and-coming neighborhood. They have great street art and eateries like Cafe Gia and the Living Room."
CEO: Monica C. Smith (above, center)
Inc. 5000 rank: 100
2014 revenue: $103.1 million
3-year growth rate: 3,420 percent
Description: Marketsmith creates and manages direct response television advertising campaigns, events, and expos for its customers.
Favorite NYC spot: "Ink48 in Hell's Kitchen has a great vibe, a cool bar, and is in walking distance of anywhere you want to go."