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WASHINGTON – The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) provided the first in-depth look at how women-owned businesses fared during the economic downturn, reporting in its year-end report that a majority of women-owned employer establishments either expanded employment or remained steady in 2007-2009 despite the shaky economy.
In its 2012 Annual Report submitted Thursday to the White House, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the NWBC offered its list of recommendations to help increase the economic potential of women entrepreneurs, one of the fastest-growing segments in the country.
It also provided an update on it ongoing research, including a project tracking women-owned businesses first surveyed in 2007 as part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
NWBC commissioned the Census Bureau to continue following those businesses from its once-every-five year survey to track whether they hired workers, lost employees or closed altogether. The analysis also tracks revenue figures and other business details about the establishments. Among preliminary data findings: 55 percent of women-owned businesses with receipts between $100,000-$500,000 expanded or had constant employment between 2007-2009.
NWBC is currently analyzing the first set of this project’s results, which include data collected through 2009. It will receive 2010 statistics in the spring. A full report will be published in mid-2013.
“This is the first time we have current, reliable data about how these businesses did during the recession,” said NWBC Executive Director Anie Borja. “These numbers are significant because they will help give us more insight into women-owned businesses, which are a critical piece of growing our economy.”
The NWBC is required by law to submit annual recommendations on how the government can best aid women business owners. This year’s recommendations addressed topics that include:
- High growth businesses: The absence of a standard definition for “high growth” may be impeding the government’s ability to measure these types of businesses that have attracted wide attention.
- Federal procurement: Women business owners have consistently sought improved access to government contracting opportunities. The Senate recently took steps to help ease restrictions placed on the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, but the government has room to improve in achieving its 5 percent set-aside goal for women-owned firms.
- Access to capital: Getting more money into the hands of women entrepreneurs continues to be the top priority for starting, and growing, businesses.
- Data and research: The government should support efforts to collect and annually disseminate a consistent, shared source of baseline data on women-owned businesses.