How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Meet the 2010 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs

September 27, 2010: 2:04 PM ET

by Patricia Sellers

Entrepreneurs not only drive economic recovery but also create better ways for us to do everyday things. Howard Schultz improved the way we drink coffee. Reed Hastings enhanced our at-home movie viewing. Steve Jobs beautified computers and the ways we use them.

The 2010 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs are not necessarily building the next Starbucks (SBUX) or Netflix (NFLX) or Apple (AAPL). But who knows? Everyone can dream, and our 2010 winners are doing that and more.

Fortune launched Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in partnership with American Express (AXP) last fall. The idea was to find the most innovative, ground-breaking, game-changing female entrepreneurs in the U.S.--business builders who might be Fortune Most Powerful Women someday. We selected 10 winners last year. This year, we drew more than 200 nominations--some from participants of the annual Most Powerful Women Summit--and selected 10 winners who will come to this year's Summit, taking place next week in Washington, D.C.

The 2010 class of 10 MPWomen Entrepreneurs includes media pioneers and bioengineers and a variety of innovators in between. To my point that entrepreneurs often create ways to improve ordinary life, one of this year's winners, Mariam Naficy (pictured below), started Minted, which uses crowd-sourcing to make stationery a prettier thing.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Fall

Minted holds competitions to source stationery designs and lets visitors vote on what Minted should sell. "We allow the best designs to surface based on community interaction," says Naficy, 40, who successfully tapped into consumer trends a decade ago. Back then, she made millions for herself with, a pioneer in selling cosmetics online. Naficy, who grew up in the Middle East and Africa (Kuwait, Lebanon, Tanzania, Iran and Egypt), and moved to the U.S. when she was 14, founded Minted in 2007, a few months after her daughter was born. Now she has two children--or three if you count her fast-growing company.

At next week's MPWomen Summit, Naficy will join another 2010 winner, Bioengineering Group CEO Wendi Goldsmith, and two startup experts, HSN (HSNI) chief executive Mindy Grossman and venture capitalist Dana Settle of Greycroft Partners, in a roundtable discussion called Finding Great Entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, American Express OPEN President Susan Sobbott and Tory Burch, one of today's brightest lights in the fashion space, will take the main stage to share best practices with two other MPWomen Entrepreneurs: co-founder and COO Dina Kaplan and A10 Solutions CEO Leah Brown.

You'll hear more about the 2010 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs from us...and, we hope, beyond as they make their marks on the world. For now, here's the full list of 2010 winners:

•    Theresa Alfaro Daytner, President & CEO, Daytner Construction Group, Mt. Airy, MD
•    Leah Brown, President & CEO, A10 Solutions, Inc., Cary, NC
•    Linda Chaput, Founder, Agile Mind, Grapevine, TX
•    Wendi Goldsmith, CEO, Bioengineering Group, Salem, MA
•    Desiree Gruber, CEO & Founder, Modelinia/Full Picture, New York, NY
•    Alexa Hirschfeld, Founder, Paperless Post, New York, NY
•    Dina Kaplan, Co-Founder & COO,, New York, NY
•    Susan Koger, Co-Founder, ModCloth, Pittsburgh, PA
•    Mariam Naficy, Founder & CEO, Minted, San Francisco, CA
•    Elizabeth Perelstein, President, School Choice International Inc., White Plains, NY

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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MPWomen go Global

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership brings rising-star women from countries around the world to the U.S. for three-week mentorships with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit - among them Ursula Burns of Xerox, Laura Lang of Time Inc., Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Tory Burch.

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