Inspiring Australian female entrepreneurs you should know about

It takes a lot of determination and courage to launch a business and disrupt industries in the hopes of being as memorable as you are successful. 

These are just four Australian women who have pushed boundaries – and it’s paid off. 

Learn about the inspiring entrepreneurial journeys of fitness queen Kayla Itsines, recruitment mogul Therese Rein, RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson, and renegade publisher Lisa Messenger. 

In the fitness business: Kayla Itsines

Fitness guru Kayla Itsines has achieved something many people dream of – earning millions doing something they love. 

The certified personal trainer rose to Instagram fame when she posted before-and-after photos of her clients within 12 weeks of starting her training program, Bikini Body Guides.

Fitness guru Kayla Itsines

Fitness guru Kayla Itsines has built a strong worldwide following of people who use her Bikini Body Guide programs.

According to her website, more than ten million women have purchased her programs.

Kayla offers training and nutritional programs, a subscription service app, and self-branded gym equipment. 

She also hosts live training sessions around the world, of which a single event is often attended by thousands. 

Kayla has a worldwide social media following of 4.6 million on Instagram and more than five million Facebook fans. 

She reportedly has an estimated personal worth of $2 million.

Hard work pays off for Therese Rein

You might recognise Therese Rein as the wife of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, but you should know her as the founder of welfare-to-work training and placement business, Ingeus. 

The Brisbane-built business, which was originally named Work Directions Australia, assists people re-entering the workforce after unemployment due to disability, illness or injury.

Therese Rein

Therese Rein has become one of Australia's wealthiest female self-made millionaires.

Her business took off after winning its first government contract from the Hawke Government. 

In 2002 the business expanded to the United Kingdom, and then to other countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East between 2005 and 2011. 

Therese sold the business to US-based Providence Service Corporation in 2014 in a deal worth up to $222 million, according to BRW. 

She remains the managing director of Ingeus. 

BRW reports Therese has a personal worth of $192 million and ranked 11th on BRW’s Australia’s Richest Women list in 2015.

Flying high with Naomi Simson

Founder of online gift store RedBalloon, Naomi Simson, launched the now multi-million-dollar business from her lounge room in 2001. 

RedBalloon has now sold more than 2.5 million experiences in Australia, and in 2016, the business is set to expand its operations to New Zealand.

RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson

Naomi Simson has built an empire helping people give their loved ones unique gifts and experiences.

Through Naomi’s leadership, RedBalloon was voted by BRW as one of Australia’s best places to work every year from 2009 – 2013. 

Naomi won the 2008 Telstra Business Women’s award for innovation and the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year industry award. 

More than 1.1 million people follow her business thought leadership on LinkedIn as she’s a certified influencer. 

She’s also one of the ‘sharks’ of Network Ten’s television show, Shark Tank, in which hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their business idea to seek Naomi’s investment and mentorship.

Embracing the entrepreneurial collective: Lisa Messenger

Founder of marketing and book publishing company The Messenger Group, Lisa Messenger defied the declining Australian magazine industry when she launched monthly lifestyle magazine, Collective Hub, in 2013. 

Despite the odds, she has expanded the readership of the entrepreneurial and creativity-focused magazine to 37 countries in the past three years.

Founder of The Messenger Group, Lisa Messenger

Lisa Messenger disrupted the declining magazine industry to produce a publication that inspired entrepreneurially-driven people.

Lisa believes the focus on everyday business owners and creative people – who want to be inspired, learn from industry professionals and make an impact – is the reason for its continued growth.

She has authored and co-authored 17 books. 

Her first book, Happiness Is… contributed to her being named a finalist in the 2005 Telstra Business Woman of the Year awards. 

Since then, she’s earned two more nominations for the awards. 

On International Women’s Day 2016, Lisa was announced as an inductee into Australian Businesswomen’s Network’s hall of fame.