Women of Color Driving Growth in Women’s Entrepreneurship

For the sixth year running, Womenable and American Express OPEN have taken a look at the state of women-owned businesses across the U.S., this year focusing on trends that have taken place between 2007 and 2016. The latest numbers – which can be found in The 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report and the companion Summary Tables document – are remarkable in a number of ways.

First, here are the latest back-of-the-envelope numbers for you to write down and keep handy for speeches and cocktail conversation:

  • There are now 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues;
  • Women-owned businesses now comprise 38% of the business population, employ 8% of the country’s private sector workforce and contribute 4% of the nation’s business revenues; and
  • Since 2007, there have been 1,072 net new women-owned firms launched each and every day.

What are the most remarkable positive trends we’re seeing in this report? Here are three:

  1. Between 2007 and 2016, while the total number of firms increased by 9%, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45% – meaning that over this period the number of women-owned firms grew at a rate fully five times the national average;Women of Color Soar
  2. Who are entering the ranks of women business owners at a fast clip? Women of color; their numbers have more than doubled since 2007, to nearly 5 million. They comprise fully 44% of all women-owned firms; and
  3. The 10 fastest-growing states for women-owned firms since 2007 in terms of economic clout (a combination of growth in number, employment and revenue) are found in every region. They are:
    • North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas (all tied for first);
    • Iowa;Top States and Cities for Growth in Women-Owned Firms
    • Indiana and Wyoming (tied for 5th);
    • Georgia and Tennessee (tied for 7th);
    • Utah; and
    • Maine.

And, on the flip side, what findings bear further scrutiny, as they may indicate a lack of advancement? Again, we’ll highlight a trio:

  1. While the share of women-owned firms keeps climbing – from 28% in 2002 to 38% today – their share of employment (8%) and revenues (4%) remains essentially unchanged;
  2. Although the number of minority women-owned businesses has increased at a rate nearly three times that of all women-owned firms since 2006 (127% versus 45%), their average annual revenues are less than half that of the average women-owned firm (just under $69,000 per annum compared to $143,000); and
  3. Despite broadening industry diversity over the past two decades, since the recession the industries with the greatest share of new women-owned firms are in some of the most historically traditional sectors for women: other services (which includes hair and nail salons, up 98% compared to 45% overall); administrative, support and waste management services (home to janitorial and landscaping businesses, +64%); and accommodation and food services (+62%).

This is just a taste of the information now available in the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. To learn more about the current state of women-owned businesses, download, read, and share the executive report, the news release, or the full set of statistical tables by clicking on these links.

And follow this blog for additional posts on trends uncovered in the report in the coming weeks and months.

Four Womenabling Numbers You Should Know

At the recent Enterprising Women of the Year annual gathering, I spoke to other members of the Editorial Advisory Board to update them on trends in women’s entrepreneurship around the world. This year, I shared four key numbers that every womenabler should know. Here they are for all of you to know and share as well: infogram4numbers

69

For every 100 male business owners there are around the world, there are only 69 female business owners. (SOURCE: Babson College, 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report, 2015)

392 million

The number of women business owners worldwide. (SOURCE: Womenable calculation based on data from the International Labour Organisation’s 2015 Key Indicators of the Labour Market report)

$285 billion

The estimated gender credit gap in developing economies around the world. (SOURCE: Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute, Giving credit where it is due, 2014)

$12 (or $28) trillion

The amount that would be added to global GDP if there were economic gender parity among all countries in each region of the world (the ‘best in region’ scenario, totaling $12T) or among all countries worldwide (the ‘full potential’ scenario, totaling $28T). (SOURCE: McKinsey Global Institute, The Power of Parity, 2015)

So, fellow womenablers, keep these four (or five) numbers at the ready. They not only indicate the amount of work we still have to do, but the benefits that will be realized once we approach economic parity. Onward and upward!

Three Hidden Gems From the 2012 SBO

Happy International Women’s Day, fellow womenablers. Yesterday, at the National Women’s Business Council’s public meeting, Council member Teresa Nelson and I discussed the Council’s just-released analysis of the 2012 women’s business census, The Growth and Development of Women-Owned Enterprises in the United States, 2002-2012.

By now, many of you will know the overarching facts and trends, including:

  • Women now own nearly four in ten (36%) businesses in the U.S. These firms number nearly 10 million, employ over 8 million workers, and generate $1.4 trillion in revenues.
  • Women-owned firms are growing in number at 2-1/2 times the national average over the 2002-2012 period, and business starts among women have picked up significantly since the recession, even as overall firm formation has stagnated.
  • The number of firms owned by women of color is nothing short of phenomenal. In 2002, there were just under 1 million firms owned by women of color; that number stands at nearly 3.8 million just one decade later.

But what you might not know are three other trends that are included in this report. For the first time, the analysis includes a look at female veteran-owned firms, trends in the top 50 most populous metro areas, and a look at trends in some detailed industry categories. We found that:

  • There’s been a quadrupling in the number of female veteran-owned businesses just in the past five years, from under 100,000 to nearly 400,000.
  • Despite growing industry diversity, nearly one-third of women-owned firms can be found in these four sectors:
    • Personal care services (mostly beauty and nail salons): 987,375 women-owned firms
    • Other personal services (including pet care/pet sitting/dog walking): 732,352
    • Child day care services: 661,630
    • Services to buildings and dwellings (mostly janitorial, housecleaning and landscaping/lawn services): 655,943
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned firms in Memphis skyrocketed by 160%, compared to national growth of 52%, making the Bluff City the fastest-growing metro area among the 50 most populous cities in the U.S.

These trends and more can be found in the new NWBC report, The Growth and Development of Women-Owned Enterprises in the United States, 2002-2012.

Women-Owned Firms ARE Scaling Into the Middle Market

Women-Owned or -Led Firms Match Peers in Economic Clout

As we womenablers are well aware, monitoring the growth of women-owned firms into the upper reaches of business achievement is stymied not only by the capping of business revenues published by government statistics into the “$1 million+” category but by limiting the accounting of women-owned firms to just those businesses that are 51% or more owned by a woman or women – ignoring the contributions of women entrepreneurs who, by virtue of external investors or sharing equity with senior management, have become plurality rather than majority owners of their enterprises.

There’s now new information out from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet – based on D&B’s extensive database of commercially active U.S. firms – which clearly shows that, when those categorical definitions are shed, women entrepreneurs are scaling into the upper reaches of business achievement at rates equal to the average enterprise.

The new report, “The Middle Market Power Index: The Growing Economic Clout of Diverse Middle Market Firms” – authored by Womenable – finds that:
Women_Growing_Into_Middle_Market

  • Women entrepreneurs are just as likely as their male counterparts to own a middle market enterprise: Less than 1% (0.7%) of commercially-active businesses are in the middle market (defined as firms with between $10 million and $1 billion in revenues). Similar shares of women-owned/women-led firms (0.4%) and majority women-owned firms (0.7%) are found in the middle market.
  • Women are moving into the middle market at impressive rates: Between 2008 and 2014, while the number of middle market firms increased by 4.1% overall, the number of women-owned or -led firms in the middle market has increased by 32.4%, and the number of majority women-owned firms in the middle market has increased by 23.6%. Thus, women and are entering into the middle market at rates five to seven times the rate of all commercially-active businesses.
  • Women-owned and -led firms in the middle market account for a large share of employment and revenues: Women-owned/women-led middle market firms comprise just 0.4% of all women-owned or -led firms, yet employ one-quarter (23%) of workers and contribute one-quarter (25%) of the revenues accounted for by all women-owned/women-led firms. Similarly, majority (51%+) women-owned firms in the middle market represent 0.7% of all women-owned firms, yet employ one-quarter (23%) of workers and contribute one-third (32%) of revenues accounted for by majority women-owned firms.
  • Women-owned/-led firms stand toe to toe with their peers in terms of economic clout: Sixteen percent (16%) of middle market firms with a female CEO generate $50 million or more in revenues, as do 17% of all middle market enterprises. Further, 16% of female-led middle market firms employ 500 or more workers, as do 15% of all middle market enterprises.

In addition to a look at trends among women-owned and women-owned and -led firms, the report also investigates the growth of minority-owned firms in the middle market.

To download and read this exciting new report, click on the link above or visit Womenable’s authored research page (which also includes another growth-focused analysis that may be of interest, “Growing Under the Radar.”). An infographic summarizing the key findings of this analysis from a women’s entrepreneurship perspective is available on Womenable’s Infogr.am page.

New Data Show Increasing Growth Among Women-Owned Firms, and Yet…

The first wave of information from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners has just been released from the U.S. Census Bureau, and the news is largely positive – for women-owned businesses at least.SBO_infographic1

While the final numbers will not be out until the end of the year, preliminary figures indicate that:

  • there are now 9.9 million women-owned firms,
  • employing nearly 9 million workers, and
  • generating $1.6 trillion in revenues.

These numbers reveal that women-owned firms now comprise 36% of all privately-held firms (a full accounting of U.S. firms, including large publicly-traded firms, won’t be published until December) – up from a 29% share in 2002.

Where’s this growth coming from? By and large, from women of color. Back in 2002, one in seven (14%) of women-owned firms was led by a woman of color; that share has risen to nearly four in 10 (38%) as of 2012. The growth in the number of women-owned firms over that decade – 53% overall – is strongly outpaced among African American (+179%), Latina (+173%), Native Hawaiian (+138%) and Asian American (+122%) women-owned firms, and also surpassed by Native American/Alaska Native (+68%) women-owned firms.

Looking at trends by industry sector finds the strongest growth in the number of women-owned firms to be in administrative support and waste management services (think office administrative services, landscaping and janitorial services, +101%), educational services (including private schools, computer and language instruction, +92%) and other services (including auto repair, pet sitting and beauty salons, +86%). At the other end of the spectrum, there’s been just an 11% increase in women-owned retail trade businesses.

When looking at the growth in women-owned firms compared to all privately-held firms, the news is quite positive overall: women are now starting businesses at a higher rate post-recession compared to the five years leading up to the recession, while start-ups have plummeted overall.

That said, however, while women now represent over one-third of all privately-owned firms, their share of employment and revenues among this population has declined between 2002 and 2012.

This represents the grey lining in an otherwise silver cloud – but the full picture won’t be revealed until more detailed tabulations by employment and revenue size of firm and more detailed geography are available late in the year.

 

(Click on the infographic at the right to view the interactive version on Womenable’s infogr.am page.)