On the Rise

By Laura Anne Bird, Shelby Deering, Olivia Mizelle, Annie Rosemurgy, Katrina Simyab, Jessica Steinhoff and Hannah Wente | Photography by Hillary Schave

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that 99.9% of the U.S.’s businesses are small — and they employ almost half of U.S. workers (46.4%), according to Forbes.

Madison is no exception when it comes to hosting interesting and innovative small businesses. And, there is an enterprising subset of women in their 20s and 30s that have brought their expertise and ideas to life here.


Marina Bloomer: From Aerospace Engineer to STEAM Pioneer

Marina Bloomer is helping local girls and non-binary youth take flight.

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Cassie Redmond: Shaping Her Own Stylish Future

Cassie Redmond is achieving a “pie-in-the-sky dream” after years of hard work.

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Rye Kimmett: From Book Lover to Business Owner

Rye Kimmett has taken her love of books and made into her own business with Kismet, a Madison area bookstore.

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Ashley Slocum: Building a Beautifully Blended Business

Ashley Slocum, owner of Blended in Hilldale, talks about what it took for her to build her beautifully blended business.

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Shelby Olstad: Whipping Up Sweet Treats

When she was five years old, Shelby Olstad dreamed of opening a bakery in her hometown of Middleton. Fast-forward 21 years, and she is the proud owner of the pink-clad bakery of her dreams.

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Grace Wang: Starting a Business That’s Gone to the Dogs

Grace Wang, founder and CEO of Petphoria, offers a unique shopping experience “for dogs and their people.”

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Courtney Ellington: A Fresh-Faced, New Beginning

Courtney Ellington launched Luscious Beauty by Courtney in 2022 with customized skin and body products that she sells online and at local pop-ups.

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Building Trust and Breaking Barriers at WWBIC

How the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation has helped countless female entrepreneurs over its 36-year history.

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