Women-owned businesses are making an impact in the American economy.
(article continues below)
Often, their ownership experiences mirror those of their male counterparts – but not always. According to the experts, here are some of the vital statistics you should know about businesses that are owned by women:
- Female Business Owners. Women-owned businesses won't disappear from the business landscape anytime soon. If anything, their presence will become even more visible in the coming years. Women represent more than a third of all people involved in entrepreneurial activity. It is estimated that more than 10 million U.S. businesses are owned by women and the number of women-owned businesses continues to grow at twice the rate of all U.S. businesses (23%).
- Business Size. Many women-owned businesses continue to be home-based operations with limited receipts and revenue. Almost 80 percent of women-owned firms had receipts totaling less than $50,000 in both 1997 and 2002. Total receipts for firms in this under-$50,000 group constituted about 6 percent of total women-owned business receipts in both years. As the children of the current generation of female entrepreneurs grow up, expect to see the number of women-owned businesses with receipts greater than $50,000 rise sharply.
- Types of Businesses. Most women-owned business receipts are in wholesale, retail trade and manufacturing. Although 2002 data shows that women-owned businesses have also established a presence in professional, scientific, and technical services, and in health care and social assistance, the revenue from these businesses was smaller than in the trades and manufacturing. This may indicate that even though female entrepreneurs are starting to penetrate technology-based industries, for now traditional types of businesses are more capable of helping them achieve their personal and professional goals.
- Ownership Style. It's probably not much of a surprise to learn that female business owners are more likely to seek advice for problems than male business owners. The numbers indicate that while less than half (47%) of men will seek the advice of their colleagues, the majority of women (69%) rely on the expertise of others. This may reflect a similar disparity when it comes to ownership style with women being more inclined than men to exercise a team-based approach.
It's important to note that the greatest challenge for women-owned firms is access to capital, credit and equity. But with more and more women starting businesses for both lifestyle and financial reasons those numbers are certain to change in the years ahead.