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.

Global Gender Equality: We’re Not There Yet

As the captains of industry gather for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) symposium in Davos, Switzerland, it’s worth noting the parallels between that assembly and the WEF’s annual Global Gender Gap report. The WEF itself notes that less than one in five attendees at the Forum this week will be female (see Who are the women of Davos 2016?), up just 2% from two years ago.

GGG-2015-chartSo it is with the Global Gender Gap analysis. The 10th annual analysis was published in November, and the news release announcing the publication noted that women’s economic progress has “stalled markedly” over the past five years. In fact, the report’s authors note that, at the present rate of progress, it will be 118 (!!) years before we see economic parity between women and men – even though there’s been significant progress in terms of health and education. Political parity (more women in elected and appointed positions in the public sector) is even further away.

GGG2015-toptenThere’s been little change at the top over the past decade, with Nordic countries dominating the list. The top five countries: Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Ireland. At the bottom of the list of 145 countries analyzed: Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Chad, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the inaugural effort in 2005, the top countries (from among the 58 included that year) were: Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland.

To learn more, see how your country stands, and download the report and infographics, visit The Global Gender Gap Report 2015 web portal.

The Ten Most Womenabling Hashtags of 2015

It’s that time of the year … time for Top Ten lists! Womenable has joined in on the list-making since 2009, focusing primarily on the most noteworthy womenabling news, events and research of the year or – in the case of 2013 (the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988) – of the previous 25 years.

Last year, we departed from our usual practice, distilling the top womenabling news of 2014 down to the top research-based factoids/soundbites.

This year, our 2015 Top Ten list – in keeping with growing trend toward shorter and sharper communication – is distilled even further, focusing on the top women’s empowerment hashtags of the year.

Now, there have been many feminist/social issue hashtags (such as #BringBackOurGirls, #YesAllWomen, #EverydaySexism, and #MeuPrimeiroAssedio [myfirstharrassment]) as well as a few interesting corporate “You Go, Girl” hashtags (with corresponding well-produced videos: #LikeaGirl and #ShineStrong primary among them), but here we want to focus on empowerment as a social media conversation.

So here, in alphabetical order within the general topic of conversation, is Womenable’s assessment of the Top Ten women’s empowerment hashtags of 2015:

All for One/One for All: These three hashtags are focused on rallying fellow women – and men – in working together for greater gender equality.allforone

  1. #AllinForHer, an initiative of Women Moving Millions.
  2. #HeforShe, an effort launched by UN Women on #IWD2014 with the star power of Emma Watson.
  3. #IronSisters, an exhortation of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes for women to help other women, especially in non-traditional fields such as STEM.

Confronting Stereotypes: These three hashtags rose up from women responding to sexist stereotypes: the “boys with toys” notion that only men like technology or engineering, or to throwback ad campaigns.looklikeanengineer

  1. #GirlsWithToys, a social media response to an offhand comment from a male scientist, showing that girls like science, too.
  2. The misogynistic responses from a seemingly harmless company recruitment campaign prompted this hashtag response. #ILookLikeanEngineer is well worth a look.
  3. The feminist social media response from a “what were they thinking” ad campaign launched by a mobile phone company in India, #WhatWomenLove, is likewise well worth reading. (Also, this just in: IBM, normally a forward-thinking corporation with respect to gender diversity, is catching flak for an ill-thought-out hashtag campaign, #HackaHairDryer. Sheesh!)

Entrepreneurial Women: The only one of our top ten hashtags focused on women’s entrepreneurship, this social multi-media campaign gathered the stories of 1,000 women who are growing their own enterprising ventures.

  1. #1000Stories, from our friends at The Story Exchange

 

Where Are the Women?: These three social media conversations highlight the fact that women are still missing from many seats of power, and are underrepresented in STEM professions.

  1. How to solve challenges in science, technology, engineering and math? #AddWomen!
  2. It’s lonely at the top. A recent video from Elle Magazine in the UK, with the hashtag #MoreWomen, shows this in eye-catching fashion.
  3. The No Ceilings initiative from the Clinton Foundation showcases some of the tremendous progress being made worldwide in the area of gender equality, while admitting that we’re #NotThere yet.

 

Christmas Bonus: And here’s a special bonus hashtag, #PayGapWTF, a youth-focused response to learning that, yes, women are still paid less than men for the same work. WTF indeed!

Have we missed any? Let us know. Happy holidays from Womenable, and best wishes for a womenabling New Year.

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.)

What Do Women Entrepreneurs Need to Grow? A New Initiative Keeps Score

It’s one thing to encourage more women to start their own entrepreneurial ventures, but what are the elements that can ensure their future growth and success? And what countries are doing a good (and not so good) job of providing a “womenabling” environment for growth-oriented women entrepreneurs? These are the questions asked – and answered – in the new Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard, a data-powered diagnostic tool developed by ACG Inc. with support from Dell.

The research team (of which Womenable is a member) considered the elements necessary for supporting growth-oriented, high-impact women entrepreneurs – AND what data are currently available on a regular basis – gathering and combining 21 data variables into an analytical framework comprised of five main elements:

  • Business environment;
  • Gendered access to resources;
  • Women’s leadership and legal rights;
  • A gendered entrepreneurial pipeline; and
  • Potential female entrepreneurial leaders.

DWEN_Global-Scorecard-ResultsThe resulting analysis, conducted among 31 economies that collectively account for 76% of global GDP, finds that the following countries provide the environment most conducive to supporting high-impact women’s entrepreneurship:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. Australia
  4. Sweden
  5. United Kingdom

At the other end of the list are countries that are not so supportive:

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Pakistan
  3. India
  4. Egypt
  5. Tunisia

One important conclusion of the analysis is that even among highly-ranked countries there is much room for improvement, as the scores – calculated on a 0-100 scale – only reach 71 even in the top-ranked U.S.

And what can all of us do to help the cause? Several recommendations for action offered include:

  • Narrow the gender data gap by measuring progress of women entrepreneur-focused initiatives;
  • Prioritize female-owned businesses in public and private supply chains;
  • Promote and empower women in the workplace;
  • Raise the visibility of female role models in business; and
  • Build entrepreneurship skills for girls by investing in STEM education.

Learn more and download the GWEL Scorecard executive report and methodology at THIS WEB PAGE.