(Credit: PXFuel, University Veterinary Equine, Yve-Car Momperousse.)

It’s been a tough year for everyone, especially business owners, so it’s no surprise that pandemic coverage dominates this list. You’ll find plenty of tips to manage your business during these unprecedented times, but there’s also lots of inspiration to keep you going — like our list of great feminist books you can read at home.

Here are the most-read stories on The Story Exchange in 2020.

1. 9 Motivational Quotes From Famous Women Entrepreneurs

These stars of the stage, screen, sports and more are using their platforms to share words of inspiration. We’ve rounded up the quotes that give us a bigger boost than our morning coffee.

At The Story Exchange, inspirational women entrepreneurs are our business and our passion. But we have a special place in our hearts for the business owners featured below, who on top of being successful founders are also some of the most respected athletes, political figureheads, musicians and performers going.

We’ve gathered up nine of our favorite motivational quotes from these seriously successful, seriously famous role models. In just a few words, these well-known women share all that they’ve learned about perseverance, patience, and finding strength — in others, and in yourself.

Best known for her roles in “Avatar,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Star Trek,” actor Zoe Saldana certainly seems out of this world. But in real life, she's fighting the lack of diversity in mainstream media through BESE, her media company. (Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)
Best known for her roles in “Avatar,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Star Trek,” actor Zoe Saldana certainly seems out of this world. But in real life, she’s fighting the lack of diversity in mainstream media through BESE, her media company. (Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

2. Hello Alice Partners with Dany Garcia to Offer Latinx Small Businesses Much-Needed Cash

The online resource has partnered with the CEO and chairwoman of the Garcia Companies and TGC Management to offer grants to Latinx business owners.

Hello Alice, a Houston-based digital platform backed by Melinda Gates, has partnered with entertainment mogul Dany Garcia to launch the Latinx The Mosaic grant program. The businesswoman will award $100,000 in total to Latinx small and new businesses through short-term financial grants.

The platform previously rolled out emergency grants of $10,000 each as they become available to a limited number of small businesses struggling because of Covid-19.

3. This Female Scientist Is at the Helm of Finding a Vaccine for Coronavirus

Sarah Gilbert, a UK-based scientist, is working around the clock with her team to find a vaccine for Covid-19 by fall.

A vaccine for coronavirus is being developed — thanks to the tireless work of a female scientist.

Sarah Gilbert, co-founder of UK-based Vaccitech and a professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, has been charged with overseeing a promising effort to rapidly develop a vaccine for Covid-19.

4. 12 Black Women-Run Businesses That Have Inspired Us

In the spirit of #AmplifyBlackVoices, we feature black female entrepreneurs who are true examples of resilience.

First, the good news: Black women are starting up at higher rates than any other demographic group.

The 2012 Survey of Business Owners published by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that black women ran 1.5 million firms in the 5-year stretch it monitored. This accounted for 60 percent of all black-owned ventures and 29 percent of women-run firms in existence during that time. Additional research also revealed the reason: These entrepreneurs sought to forge professional pathways free of discrimination — to open doors not only for themselves, but others as well.

Funlayo Alabi Shea Radiance
Funlayo Alabi of Shea Radiance. (Credit: Glenford Nunez)

5. Books to Keep Your Mind Sharp During the Pandemic

The Story Exchange staff shares recommendations for women entrepreneurs seeking feminist reads to pass the time.

Boredom is, admittedly, the least of our concerns as the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the country, and the world.

Still, there is something to be said for keeping our minds sharp and engaged. So for women entrepreneurs who find themselves with all the spare time they could ever want — and then some — we’ve compiled a list of our favorite books by women authors. Some are fiction; some are nonfiction. Some will make you laugh; others will make you cry; and all of them will make you think. And each one comes to us from smart, gifted women authors, many of whom won awards for their work.

6. 9 Women in STEM Who Might Just Save Us All

From vaccine developments to vital testing kits, women in the science world are making critical strides in helping humanity combat the novel coronavirus.

As time — and the coronavirus crisis — goes on, we’re starting to see small glimmers of hope for a cure, and an end. And several of these flashes come thanks to women innovators.

Female scientists and founders have been making strides on vaccines, testing kits, infectious disease prevention and more, to the benefit of, well, everyone. This work couldn’t be more critical — as of publication, just under 1.4 million cases of Covid-19 had been reported in the United States alone.

7. 10 Time Management Tips for Working Remotely

Months into the pandemic, many of us are still working from home. Here’s advice from expert Barbara Weltman.

As the lyrics to Fly Like an Eagle by the Steve Miller Band say: “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.”

For those working remotely from their homes, it’s all too easy to become distracted or waste time needed for work. I’ve been working from a home office for more than 30 years and have developed some personal techniques for time management.

8. How to Manage a Small Business During the Coronavirus Crisis

We asked women business owners to tell us how they’re preparing for a potential global pandemic.

How does one prepare for an outbreak?

First off, refrain from panicking — though it’s certainly understandable, given the headlines dominating the news cycle. But panic — either frenzied actions not rooted in logic, or analysis paralysis propelled by anxiety — is not going to help matters. Deep breaths.

The coronavirus has forced many business owners to prepare for tough conditions ahead. (Photo credit: NIAID-RML via Flickr)
The coronavirus has forced many business owners to prepare for tough conditions ahead. (Photo credit: NIAID-RML via Flickr)

9. 9 Great Podcasts to Help Get You Through the Covid Crisis

Need something smart — or just plain fun — in your life right now? Don’t we all. To help, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite podcasts.

As we go from labeling our time in quarantine in days to weeks — and then months, surely — we continue to look for ways to stay sharp while also passing time.

If you’ve already tackled your reading list and exhausted all of the shows you wanted to stream, we suggest popping on some headphones and listening to one of these great podcasts.

10. Frida’s Postpartum Mom Ad Shows Dominance of Social Media Marketing

After an ad from the five-year-old startup was rejected by ABC, women were able to vent their frustration on social media.

By now, you’ve probably heard that a television commercial showing a postpartum woman using the bathroom was rejected by the ABC during this week’s Oscars.

But the story doesn’t end there. The company behind the ad — a startup called Frida that sells products for new moms and babies, founded by Chelsea Hirschhorn — has turned the controversy into a marketing ploy, broadcasting the commercial on Instagram and scoring blockbuster levels of engagement.