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National Women’s Business Council Report Shows Women-Owned Businesses Thriving, Growing
Women are starting more than 1,140 businesses per day, employ 8 million people, and bring in annual revenues of $1.4 trillion

WASHINGTON – As part of its celebration of March as Women’s History Month, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) today released a new report showing women-owned businesses now comprise 36 percent of the country’s businesses. Women have been entering the ranks of business ownership in the U.S. at rates far exceeding the national average. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. increased at a rate of 2 1/2 times the national average, and employment in women-owned businesses grew at a rate of 4 1/2 times all businesses.

This growth is documented in a new report, prepared by Womenable for the NWBC. It is an analysis of the key trends and findings in women’s business ownership, comparing figures from the 2002, 2007, and 2012 Surveys of Business Owners. In particular, the research highlights sectors where women-owned businesses have bounced back from the 2007-09 recession and sectors where growth has not yet reached pre-recession levels.

“It is exciting to report that, despite the recent recession, women are now launching more than 1,140 new businesses across the country every single day – a rate of more than 47 per hour,” said Carla Harris, Presidentially-appointed Chair of the NWBC. “Our new research shows that these enterprises are innovative, scalable and are strengthening our economy by employing more than eight million workers and generating more than $1.4 trillion in revenues.”

The data also shows key areas of growth in minority women-owned and female veteran-owned enterprises, as well as in particular industries nationwide and among certain geographic regions:

  • As of 2012, there are nearly 3.8 million businesses owned by women of color. In 2002, there were fewer than one million minority women-owned businesses.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the number of non-minority women-owned businesses grew by just 9 percent, while the number of minority women-owned businesses overall grew by 315 percent. This means that four in ten firms are minority women-owned.
  • There are now more than 383,000 female veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. This is an increase of 295 percent since 2002.
  • Women-owned businesses are found in every industry. In fact, two percent or more are found in 13 of the 19 major industries – including more than 260,000 women-owned construction firms, more than 200,000 women-owned finance and insurance firms, and nearly 160,000 women-owned transportation and warehousing enterprises.
  • The top three sectors in which women own businesses in the U.S. are “other services,” which include nearly 1 million beauty and nail salons; “health care and social assistance,” among which there are more than 600,000 child day care service businesses, and 1.3 million “professional/scientific/technical services” firms.
  • The sharpest rise in the number of businesses is happening in the south. The top states for growth are: Georgia (+92 percent), Mississippi (+89 percent), Texas (+85 percent), Florida (+85 percent), and Louisiana (+74 percent), with four out of the five fastest-growing metropolitan areas for women-owned firms also in the South. There are 19 states in which post-recession growth in the number of women-owned firms is at least 10 points higher than pre-recession growth – and most are in the North Central or Midwest regions of the U.S.

“We are particularly pleased to recognize the growth of women’s business ownership throughout March, which is National Women’s History Month,” said Amanda Brown, Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council. “With numbers like these that show advancement for female entrepreneurs, the impact of women-owned businesses on our economy is undeniable. We are proud of the progress that has been made, and will continue our work to break down barriers and improve the business climate for women.”

While the new data shows that an increasing number of women are starting businesses today, there are still opportunities for significant growth. The report also indicates those businesses still remain significantly smaller than average. Women-owned businesses comprise 36 percent of the country’s businesses, but they employ seven percent of the private-sector workforce, and only contribute four percent of business revenues. An overwhelming majority, 91percent of women-owned firms, have no employees other than the owner. Only two percent of women-owned firms have more than 10 employees. These firms alone though are responsible for three-quarters of the jobs provided by all women-owned firms.