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When Sarah Kauss came up with the idea for a high-end water bottle company, she anticipated starting a small, niche business and then going back to a more traditional job once the new venture was off the ground.
Little did she know that that company, S’well, would become the fastest-growing women-owned business in the U.S., according to an annual ranking by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a nonprofit membership group for female leaders, in partnership with American Express.
The list, which is in its ninth year, ranks companies based on both percentage and absolute growth. To qualify for the ranking, businesses must be privately-held, woman-owned/led, and have reached revenue of at least $500,000 by the first week of 2011 and $2 million in 2015. Together, the 50 companies on the list generated a combined $4.96 billion in revenues last year.
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*Article contributed by Valentina Zarya, associate editor for the Most Powerful Women channel on fortune.com