Women-Owned Businesses Have Come a Long Way But Still Seek a Level Playing Field
There are three significant issues that face women-owned businesses: lack of funding, conflicting responsibilities, and lack of education/support.
In 1972, there were only 402,000 women-owned businesses. Today, there are currently 13 million women-owned businesses, and they account for 42% of all businesses within the United States. Women-owned businesses grow at a faster rate than any other demographic – there are approximately over 1800 women-owned businesses formed per day.
In addition to the rate of growth in the new formations, women-owned businesses contribute significantly to the national economy reporting more revenue ($1.8 Trillion a year) and hiring more employees (9.4 Million workers). One in five firms with revenues of $1 Million or more are women-owned, and 4.2% of all women-owned firms have revenues of $1 Million or more.
One of the top priorities of women-owned businesses is gaining greater and easier access to capital and financial assistance. Despite the many advancements and achievements by women entrepreneurs, women-owned businesses are the most underfunded companies. Most female founders rely on self-funding with personal savings and credit cards. Their average business loan, if granted, is 50% less than their male counterparts. Finally, only 2.4% of venture capital funding goes to female founders.
The second priority of women-owned businesses is finding a work-life balance. Female founders often face the challenge of balancing family obligations, as 31% have school-aged children at home, with their business needs for operations and the success of the business. The majority of female entrepreneurs report that their business is their primary source of income.
Finally, the business community has begun to support and provide educational opportunities for female founders. The number of accelerators, incubators, and training/business development programs has increased, correcting the inadequate support systems that have historically been prevalent.
These statistics demonstrate that women entrepreneurs, despite the challenges they continue to face, never give up. Their key attributes include resilience and persistence. They have proven themselves to be talented and intelligent business owners, often outperforming their male counterparts.
We can all do our part to support female entrepreneurs by increasing awareness of their businesses, being intentional in supporting, mentoring, and supporting female entrepreneurs, and investing in women-owned businesses. For many organizations that support women-owned businesses, it is not just a feel-good action or even a duty – for many of us, it is our calling. We owe it to other women business owners to truly support them. I leave you with this – are you doing everything that you can do to support women-owned businesses or support female founders?