6 trailblazing female entrepreneurs defining success in LAL

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Photo via Catapult

Hey Lakeland, Kaylee here. DYK women-owned businesses rack up $1.7 trillion in sales and employ 9 million people in the US? Nationally, the time of the woman has arrived, and female-owned businesses are on fire. 🔥 The sunshine state is no exception, coming in hot and leading the way with the second highest growth rate for women entrepreneurs.

In Lakeland alone, thousands of females are making incredible strides and Catapult is home to a bunch of them. In fact– out of Catapult’s 100+ members45% are female.

Meet six women creators and their companies in the Catapult community you may not know. From European chefs trained in the south of Germany to Outer Mongolian raised former missionary kids - we’re watching these women, and we think you should, too.

Grit Rambusch | Crumbles & Cream

Grit is a certified pastry chef, trained in the south of Germany. Using traditional European baking methods, Crumbles & Cream transforms clean + fresh ingredients into handcrafted baked goods, pastries, and culinary specialties. Grit bakes in small batches from scratch and incorporate local produce. No preservatives, trans fats, artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners are added into her treats.

Laura Helm | Haus820

Inspired by her love of celebrations, Laura manages both Ashton Events + Haus820 to help people have events focused on joy, commitment, and all around good fun. After three years of working out of Catapult, Laura teamed up with the Community Redevelopment Agency on the Haus 820 project, where she continues her passion of growing the celebratory culture of our city.

Amanda Jusino | The Academy of Branding

Amanda is from Puerto Rico, but Hurricane Maria led her to move to Winter Haven, FL. She has 10+ years of experience as a design professor and graphic designer. As the founder of the Academy of Branding, Amanda specializes in the design of publications, develops of the corporate image of small and medium entrepreneurs and personal digital platforms. She offers conferences, workshops and courses, both in person + online, specializing in digital systems for business.

Mayra Benitez | Engineering For Kids Central West Florida LLC

Mayra graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and immediately moved to Lakeland to work as a VIP Manufacturing Engineer, where she worked for 5 years. Mayra and her husband started operating Engineering For Kids in the fall of 2014, offering a unique educational experience for kids through classes, camps, clubs, and parties. Mayra is passionate about the educational impact her business is offering to future generations in our community and in Central West Florida.

Angie Fontes | Compass Blending

Angie was born and raised in North Carolina, but eventually found her way down to Lakeland. For nearly two decades, she has worked for other food manufacturers, filling senior roles in finance, sales + marketing, and serving as a plant manager and VP of Operations. Her entire professional career has been spent in manufacturing and after a long stint of serving as an employee, she decided it was time to run the show herself. Compass Blending offers an industrial dry food blending service, working with primarily small retail brands and restaurants. Angie is also is a mother to her four children + accomplished runner, having completed a number of marathons and half-marathons.

Naomi Lynn Vacaro | Wholehearted

Moving to Lakeland in 2011, Naomi spent her childhood as a missionary’s kid in the country of Outer Mongolia. While Naomi has been working as a photographer since 2015 mid-2018, Naomi launched Wholehearted – an online Christian ministry, providing tools and education for women of faith who need discipleship in the areas of daily Bible study and prayer. Through Wholehearted, Naomi has created a Christian-based organizer + will be publishing blogs written by women of faith around the US, launching a website, offering online discipleship courses, and more.

Have a great idea you’re ready to launch or a business you’re running that you want to grow? Don’t miss the next Catapult Entreprenu[HER] workshop Mar. 28 at 8:30 a.m., where women from the community come together + build relationships.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even be included in the next class of leading entrepreneurs in Lakeland.

Keep slaying the game, ladies. ✌️

Answered: C. Jin Sook Chang, Founder of Forever 21.

– LALtoday team (Kristin, Jessica, Kaylee, Mackenzie + Cassie)

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