Research Reports

ByNWBC Council

Resource Inventory for Growth-Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs: Findings and Future Directions

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Women business owners with growth aspirations can contribute significantly to economic growth in the United States, but women are currently under-represented among large firms with $1 million or more in revenue. To improve access to resources required for growth, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) created a searchable repository of 196 premiere, growth-oriented programs. The repository was developed by identifying a catalogue of resource keywords (such as business accelerators and export assistance) and culling a list of such resources from entrepreneur-focused websites and publications. The resources were coded for goodness-of-fit indicators and analyzed in the aggregate to describe the scope of the inventory and potential gaps in programs available to women entrepreneurs through the searchable online repository, “Grow Her Business: A Resource from Start-up to Scale-up.”

ByNWBC Council

Resource Inventory for Growth-Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs

Resource Inventory for Growth-Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs

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Women business owners with growth aspirations can contribute significantly to economic growth in the United States, but women are currently under-represented among large firms with $1 million or more in revenue. To improve access to resources required for growth, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) created a searchable repository of 196 premiere, growth-oriented programs.

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ByNWBC Council

Undercapitalization as a Contributing Factor to Business Failure for Women Entrepreneurs

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One of the Council’s key areas of research is on women’s access to capital, a continual challenge for women entrepreneures. Two of the NWBC’s FY2013 research projects demonstrate that accessing sufficient capital is a problem even for high-growth women-owned businesses. We have learned that women-owned firms face unique challenges because there are significant differences in undercapitalization that exist between men-owned and women-owned firms. First, Robb and Coleman concluded that startup capital is a key indicator of business success. This research confirmed that women start their business with nearly half the amount of capital as men, and further that women entrepreneurs raise substantially less equity and debt throughout the business lifecycle. In a second study, conducted by PQC Consulting, Inc, we learned, that all else equal, undercapitalization negatively impacts business survival.

Undercapitalization limits enterprise growth by constraining business investments in key assets such as equipment, employees, or inventory necessary for growth; the business does not have the funds it needs to meet market demands.[1] Since startup and expansion capital are critical for firm growth and success, one factor that will improve women-owned firm performance is to reduce the number of women-owned firms that experience undercapitalization. As the number of women-owned and women-led firms continues to grow in the United States, it is essential that the NWBC explore business failure as a result of undercapitalization as it likely costs the economy billions in receipts. For example, Babson College concluded the lack of sufficient capital funding for women entrepreneurs will cost the economy nearly six million jobs over the next five years.[2] Thus addressing the access to capital gender gap has significant implications for the economy as a whole.

We commissioned this study in an effort to develop a more nuanced understanding of the impact that undercapitalization and capital structure have on the business outcomes of women-owned firms.

Read the full Executive Summary here and download the report.

[1] Undercapitalization. Inc.com.

[2] Geri Stengel.

ByNWBC Council

TOOLKIT: How to Build an Effective Social Network

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Based on NWBC research released earlier this year, the Council created a toolkit to help entrepreneurs assess the quality of their social networks. The activities and information in this toolkit will empower women business owners to build a social network that helps them achieve their business dreams.

ByNWBC Council

A Media Resource on Women and Entrepreneurship

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Based on our survey of media coverage on entrepreneurship the Council identified a gap in culture where we could better support media makers in including women entrepreneurs in their stories. As such, the Council developed a resource to contextualize the experience of women business owners and leaders and then provide tools and resources for journalists and other media makers that want more information on how to better cover women’s entrepreneurship. This resource includes key definitions, information on how to identify bias in the media, and resources to find women business owners and leaders to interview for news and media coverage.

ByNWBC Council

Structural Differences in Women’s and Men’s Social Networks

Structural Differences in Women’s and Men’s Social Networks Report

Research has shown that social networks are vital to the healthy development and growth of a women’s entrepreneurial endeavor. While there is a lot of discussion on women’s social networks and their ability to identify key members of their network (mentor, sponsor, etc.) – there is little research on the differences in effectiveness of men’s and women’s social networks.

From previous NWBC research we know two things: 1) there is a disparity in the amount and source of financial capital that men and women use and specifically differences in the use of outsider capital (that is, capital from sources other than entrepreneurs friends or family). And 2) social networks are important because they enable the movement of financial, human and intellectual capital, as well as facilitate information exchange, but the usage and efficacy of those networks vary depending on gender and are impacted by the quality and quantity of those involved.

As such, we commissioned this research to shed light on the structural differences in the entrepreneurial networks of male and female entrepreneurs and to what extent these differences influence the development and success of female entrepreneurs. Specifically, it examines the role that social networks play in facilitating the success of women entrepreneurs who start a new business. Additionally, it examines the effects of gender differences on business outcomes and funding opportunities with respect to an individual’s social network.

ByNWBC Council

Studying the Impact of Women’s Business Centers

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In collaboration with the SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership, the Council worked with Carnegie Mellon University to review and analyze the effectiveness of Women’s Business Centers. Our hope was to gain an understanding of the Women’s Business Center network, what they need and how we can best support them. Download the report here and read our findings and recommendations for how best to support WBC’s.

ByNWBC Council

Access to Capital Infographic Tool Kit

Access to Capital Infographic Tool Kit

The Council completed two projects on access to capital for high-growth women-owned businesses this year.  While this research is essential to inform key policy decisions, it may not be directly useful to women business owners themselves. This infographic addresses that gap: it’s a guide to help business owners navigate various paths to capital. It includes essential tips from the three successful women business owners interviewed for the project, as well as examples of different financing situations that business owners might face, and explanations of different types of capital – such as crowdfunding, angel investing, and purchase order financing.

ByNWBC Council

New Research Identifies Women-Owned Businesses with Growth Potential

Opportunities for and Barriers to Hiring for Self-Employed and Microbusinesses Report

The Council commissioned research on sole proprietorships and the factors leading to these firms’ first hires. The purpose was to discover how to best support the employment growth of microbusinesses.
The researchers used panel data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) for 1997-2011 from the University of Michigan, and cross-sectional data from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners from the United States Census Bureau. This study examined barriers to and opportunities for hiring among self-employed individuals and microbusinesses, with a focus on how male and female business owners make decisions to hire employees. The researchers investigated individual characteristics and family dynamics of business owners, firm characteristics, and external market conditions.

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ByNWBC Council

Women-Owned Businesses and the Supply Chain

Women-Owned Businesses and the Supply Chain

Women-owned businesses (WOBs) with business-to-business (B2B) sales tend to have higher revenue and better access to capital. This infographic examines descriptive statistics on women-owned businesses in the B2B market, and offers a look at the story of one woman–Stacy Madison of Stacy’s Pita Chips–who grew her company’s revenue into the millions by starting with sales to regional and gourmet food stores.