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Leading Ladies These women-led businesses are speeding their way to the top.

By Sara Wilson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Women today continue to push to the forefront of small business. So for the second year, Entrepreneur and the Women Presidents' Organization set out to find north america's 50 fastest-growing women-led companies. Topping the list is one woman holding her own in a male-dominated field.

Heidi Smith Price might speak in a soft voice, but she's definitely loud enough to be heard. In fact, at only 29 years old, she has established a notable presence in a male-dominated industry. "You hardly see any women in the construction industry, much less the industrial industry," says Smith Price, who has grown her heavy industrial contractor business, Spartan Constructors LLC, from a mere $100,000 in revenue in 2003 to a projected $150 million this year--landing her securely at the top of this year's list of the 50 fastest-growing women-led companies.

In 2004, Smith Price bought majority partnership in the Sugar Hill, Georgia-based business and was up for the challenges that it presented--namely earning respect from her peers. "You just have to stand your ground and not let other people walk all over you," says Smith Price, who has focused instead on the opportunities that she knew lay beneath the surface. She immediately certified her company as a Women's Business Enterprise and was thereby able to open up her business to major contracting opportunities. This simple decision has enabled her to enjoy substantial growth over the past four years--at a rate faster than even she thought possible.

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