Lady Ada AKA Limor Fried Named Entrepreneur Of The Year

While I don’t often hold stock in random pronouncements by magazines, I’m shocked and thrilled that Entrepreneur Magazine named Limor Fried, founder of Adafruit Industries, as their 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year. Limor runs a $4.5 million company with 25 employees and she produces some of the coolest electronic gadgets around.

It’s amazing that Adafruit Industries exists at all – after all, the average code jockey doesn’t want to handle solder or jumpers. However, the company has made it easy for electronics hobbyists to learn almost everything there is to know about some amazing microcontrollers, Arduino boards, and even skill badges for geeky Boy Scouts. They’ve taken off, selling $10 million in gear this year.

Limor started her company in her MIT dorm room by selling electronics kits to her friends, making about $10 on each kit. Soon she moved to New York and in October moved from a 2,000 square foot office to a sprawling 12,000 square foot loft in Soho.

Just a week after the move, Fried was bubbling with excitement, obvious even over the din of 500 packages being prepped for the daily UPS shipment. “It’s a new chapter in the business,” she exclaims. “I think we can quadruple our current size.” No mean feat, considering Adafruit has shipped more than half a million kits in the last seven years, and revenue has doubled every year for the past three. The warehouse-grade power supply at the new facility allows for simultaneous operation of large equipment like laser engravers and mills, which means much faster production; the additional space means more inventory can be stocked. Fried is also throwing her creative weight behind education initiatives, designing school curricula in electronic circuitry and robotics and creating stickers and badges, à la Girl Scouts, to get kids to brag about their skills in areas like welding and programming.

You can read the article here but you’re actually better off heading over to the Adafruit website and picking up a few kits. Nothing beats the feeling of firing up a homebrew electronics project and I’m thrilled to see the maker community band together to elevate one of their own amazing hackers.