Women-owned businesses are gaining economic impact and clout. That’s the message heard at the Women’s Business Center (WBC) National Conference in El Paso, Texas, September 16-18.
The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) held the conference to share best practices with the nation’s 100+ WBCs last week. The AWBC develops and strengthens the network of women’s business centers to advance the growth and success of women business owners. Donna Rebisz, Director of the Women’s Business Center of New York State attended the conference from Utica, NY. “This conference is a great venue to get all of the WBCs together and learn new strategies to help our women business owners.”
The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) released its most recent analysis of preliminary U.S. Census data from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) last month. The snapshot it provides on the state of women-owned businesses shows definitive growth. Among the highlights:
- There were 9.9 million women-owned businesses as of 2012, up from 7.8 million in 2007, which indicates a 27.5% rate of increase.
- Women-owned firms currently make up 36.2% of all non-farm businesses, up from 29.6% in 2007.
The Survey of Business Owners is conducted every five years. The 2012 SBO polled approximately 1.75 million businesses for information about characteristics of the businesses and its owners. The NWBC then analyzed these findings to determine how women-owned businesses fared in the larger context of the U.S. economy.
While women-owned businesses are seeing unprecedented growth, access to capital and markets, there is still a lot of work to be done. Women-owned enterprises only receive 4% of venture capital and less than 5% of government contracts.
Women-owned businesses generated $1.6 trillion in total receipts, up 35% from $1.2 trillion in 2007. This rate of revenue growth exceeded that of male-owned businesses, which saw an increase of 33%.
Here is another stat that beats the boys: The increase in the number of employees in women-owned firms is 19.5%, compared to 11.5% at companies owned by men. Still, the majority (89.4%) of all women-owned firms are sole proprietorships, with no employees but the owner.
Of all African-American businesses, the majority (58.9%) are women-owned. That’s more than 1.5 million businesses across the U.S. and the rate of growth represents a 67.5% increase.
There are 1.48 million Hispanic women-owned businesses in the U.S., an 87.31% increase since 2007. In comparison, the number of businesses owned by Hispanic men grew just 39.34%.
Asian-American women also made big strides as business owners. There are 754,874 Asian American women-owned businesses, up 44.34% from 2007. That is less than the five years prior (54%) but still better than growth in businesses owned by Asian men, which capped out at 25.12%.
The AWBC works to secure economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities for women by supporting and sustaining a national network of more than 100 Women’s Business Centers (WBC). WBCs help women succeed in business by providing training, mentoring, business development and financing opportunities to over 140,000 women entrepreneurs each year.