The 2013 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs

This year's crew of founders may span industries, but they all share a similar fearlessness that helped their companies find success.

Maria Rios

mpw13 e maria rios
  • Company: Nation Waste, Inc.
  • Age: 46

Rios is no stranger to hard work. She moved to the U.S. from El Salvador when she was a child. She graduated at the top of her high school class and raised a family while putting herself through college. She was not intimidated when she started Nation Waste Inc. At just 22, months after graduating from the University of Houston, she took out loans and purchased two trucks, jumping into the male-dominated waste-removal industry. Today, her Houston-based company has 24 full-time employees. "It is pretty amazing when I look back and see, I started as a little girl entering the United States with my parents and now I am truly living the American dream," says Rios.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated October 10 2013 08:02 AM ET
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