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October is National Women’s Small Business Month, dedicated to celebrating the contributions and successes of our nation’s women small business owners. Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing segments of the economy, as four out of 10 U.S. businesses are owned by women, according to the American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses 2018 report, and they comprise a total of 12.3 million firms. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the triumphs of women business owners and acknowledge the challenges they face.
Women-owned businesses have achieved tremendous growth in the last decade. According to the American Express report, the total number of women-owned businesses has increased by 58 percent since 2007, and in 2017 1,821 new businesses were opening each day. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) shares that women owned just 4.6 percent of businesses, around 400,000 in number, in 1972.
There is still work to be done, however, to help women business owners transcend gender disparity for continued growth and success in a leveled playing field. The report notes that, of all women-owned businesses, 93 percent generate less than $250,000 in revenue. In addition, women-owned businesses comprise only 8 percent of the total private sector workforce and account for 4.3 percent of total revenues—unfortunately these numbers are not growing in unison with the booming number of women-owned firms.
A plethora of resources are available for women-owned businesses to help them expand growth in employment and revenue, as well as innovative means to access capital, such as crowdfunding, gender lens investment and online lending tools. In celebration of this important month, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon has highlighted three important resources that the SBA offers to help women, including the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Women’s Business Centers and federal contracting assistance program.
Helping women succeed as business owners is crucial for reaching gender parity and increasing women’s economic growth and independence. Learn more about the SBA’s programs geared towards female entrepreneurs here.