Explaining State-Level Differences in Women-Owned Business Performance

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) today released a new study, Explaining State- Level Differences in Women-Owned Business Performance, which indicates that the success of women-owned businesses is impacted by particular state-level factors, such as the availability of technology infrastructure and an educated workforce. Using the U.S. Census Bureau’s special tabulations of 1997-2001 data on women-owned businesses’ (WOB) performance, the research is one of the first attempts to evaluate systematically the influence of factors that underlie state differences in WOB performance.

According to the Census data, the performance of WOBs varies significantly across the country, from a high survival rate of 74% in New York and Connecticut to a low of 60% in Tennessee. This new study indicates these state-level discrepancies can be partially explained by differences in the woman business owner’s education level, the size of the business, and a state’s “knowledge economy level,” which this research describes as the combined effect of venture capital dollars invested per business, educational level of workforce, and degree of broadband penetration across a state.

“Creating an environment in which women-owned businesses can thrive should be a priority in every state and community nationwide,” said NWBC Executive Director Margaret Barton. “This research indicates the importance of providing women entrepreneurs access to education, mentoring, financial and technological resources.”

The research was conducted for the NWBC by StratEdge, a small woman-owned research and consulting firm. The full study will be available on the NWBC web site, www.nwbc.gov. To request a copy of the report via email, please contact Allison Gilmore at 202-205-6827 or allison.gilmore@sba.gov

As the voice of the nation’s more than 10.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., the National Women’s Business Council works to promote increased access to affordable health care, access to capital, access to federal contracts and international markets, and access to the information and expertise women business owners most need to succeed. Women-owned businesses currently represent nearly half (48%) of all U.S. firms, employing 19.1 million people and generating nearly $2.5 trillion in sales.