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Learn more about women-owned, equally-owned and men-owned business performance and if your state makes the list for most women-owned businesses!

Learn more about industry concentration of women-owned, equally-owned and men-owned businesses, and their growth since 2007.

Men and women of all ages are starting businesses at record levels. Check out the latest numbers and characteristics for age of business owner in our analysis of data from the Survey of Business Owners via the United States Census.

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.

For the purpose of this study, the authors define a small business as having 5-9 employees and a large business as having 10 or more employees. A microbusiness has 1-4 employees; this definition is common but not universally accepted. “Self-employed” describes a business owner who may or not have employees.

Key Findings on individual characteristics and family dynamics

Marital Status – Younger and unmarried entrepreneurs are more likely to become self-employed, and more likely to have employees. However, they are also more likely to leave their venture and return to working for someone else. Some individuals within these subpopulations may perceive self-employment as an “occupation” or temporary condition, whereas others are focused on long-term development of an entrepreneurial venture. Women business owners tend to be younger.

Non-traditional Experience – Women who may not have as many opportunities in traditional paid employment display greater entrepreneurial tendencies. For example, women in minority ethnic and racial groups—who may experience discrimination, particularly in middle and senior leadership roles—are more likely have employees than their male counterparts. Women with some college but no degree are more likely to stay self-employed.

Education-level – Post-graduate education significantly increased the likelihood of becoming self-employed and having employees; these effects were particularly notable for women.

Teaming – All individuals, but especially women, were more likely to be self-employed if their spouse was self-employed. Many women business owners may have co-owned a firm with their husbands. Firms that are women-owned but jointly operated by a married couple were twice as likely to have employees; the presence of a co-owner may be of particular benefit.

Family Size – Self-employed women with dependent children at home were less likely to have employees than other women entrepreneurs.

Growth – Women-owned firms were less likely to have employees than other firms, across all industries. This trend was greatly exaggerated in the health care and social assistance, which is noteworthy as over half of firms in this industry are women-owned. Women-owned firms in administrative and other support services were less likely to have any employees—but those that did were more likely to employ more than ten employees.

Commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council and prepared by Siri Terjesen, PhD, Social Entrepreneurship Amongst Women and Men in the United States uses brand new data on social entrepreneurship among men and women in the United States to confirm the message that women are successfully launching, leading, and growing social ventures across the country. In particular, this project gives an exciting “first look” at data from the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and reveals some pretty interesting trends about social enterprises. Learn what percentage of U.S. entrepreneurs report leading a social enterprise, how entrepreneurial motivations differ between men and women, and recommendations for why and how policymakers should support social enterprises.

Join the conversation online using #NWBCSocialEnt.

One approach to understanding the interactions between the actors and processes that support segments of entrepreneurs, such as women entrepreneurs, is the application of an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” framework. NWBC’s entirely new ecosystem model serves as a tool to evaluate regional support of women’s entrepreneurship. The convergence of the domains on women-owned ventures, centrally displayed, demonstrates that actors throughout the ecosystem work together to engage, advise, and drive the growth of women entrepreneurs.

Local government officials, entrepreneurial support organizations, and other stakeholders can adopt this ecosystem model as a guide to evaluate their regional economy’s ecosystem for women entrepreneurs.

Commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council and prepared by Premier Quantitative Consulting, Inc., Millennial Women: The Future of Entrepreneurship in America examines the millennial entrepreneurial population, specifically focusing on women, through three key parts: a discussion of current themes surrounding millennial entrepreneurs, an analysis of data to develop a profile of the millennial entrepreneur, as well as recommendations for future areas of investigation.

The first section presents diverging points of view on the status and future of millennial women business owners. The media portrays millennials as transforming the economy and spurning traditional forms of employment. However, literature shows that millennial entrepreneurs are actually on the decline; this is also supported by the Council’s research. The paper suggests that rising student debt could be having an adverse effect on entrepreneurship rates for millennials. The research identifies theories on generational challenges and those that may be unique to millennials.

The latter half of the paper uses 2010-2014 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2012 Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons (SBO) to understand the demographic, social, and financial characteristics of millennial women, identifying those who are entrepreneurs already and providing comparisons to men and women of prior generations.

NWBC’s latest report, Necessity as a Driver of Women’s Entrepreneurship: Her Stories, explores and expands upon NWBC’s July report on necessity as a driver of women’s entrepreneurship in the United States.

In particular, this study uses case studies of nine diverse women to examine whether and how women turn to entrepreneurship to address potential market failures that limit their ability to maintain or attain economic self-sufficiency, or alternatively, to overcome flexibility bias and potential stigma in balancing work-life conflict assumed in traditional gendered roles and social norms. Findings support the value of NWBC’s theoretical model, which captures a diversity of circumstances circumstances—beyond emergency economic need or a disruptive business idea—that motivate women to become entrepreneurs.

The National Women’s Business Council has released the ‘Profile of Millennial Women: The Future of Entrepreneurship in America’ identifying the characteristics of millennial women entrepreneurs and crafted a set of policy recommendations to foster business growth among this demographic.