blaze a trail

blaze a trail AND blaze a path (to develop or do something new and important, or to do something important that no one has done before) — прокладывать путь в лесу, делая зарубки на деревьях; ≅ прокладывать путь (Lingvo); ≅ быть новатором

Example 1: It’s an innovative young company that has blazed a trail for others to follow (LDOCE).

Example 2: Poland blazed the trail of democratic reform in eastern Europe (LDOCE).

Example 3: Women of all types have blazed trails in new areas, so that in a matter of a few years the impossible has happened (Equal at work?).

see also
[pave the way]