The great late poet and author Maya Angelou once said, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
February is Black History Month. It’s a great time to reflect on the beauty and strength that diversity does indeed bring to our lives and our businesses as women entrepreneurs. New information. Different perspectives. Individual expertise. Unique backgrounds. These are just a few of the benefits.
As women business owners, it’s important to consider the link between diversity in business and economic growth as we approach hiring decisions, problem-solving, launching new products, expanding into new markets and more. For example, a McKinsey & Company study found that the increase in women’s overall share of labor in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 47 percent over the past 40 years—has accounted for about a quarter of current GDP.
Here are a few other reasons why diversity in business is so important:
- Market share: Businesses can more effectively market to diverse consumers and increase market share.
- Talent: Businesses are more likely to hire the best and brightest in the labor market to remain competitive.
- Retention: Businesses that foster inclusive workplaces are shown to decrease employee turnover
- Innovation: Diverse businesses tend to be more creative, innovative and able to more effectively problem-solve.
And it’s not just our businesses that benefit from diversity; it’s also organizations like NAWBO. NAWBO’s diversity statement says:
In principle and in practice, NAWBO values and seeks a diverse and inclusive membership. NAWBO seeks full participation in the organization by all business owners who support our mission to empower women entrepreneurs, regardless of race, religion, age, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. NAWBO’s goal is to effectively represent the full diversity of the women business owner community and to expand access to leadership opportunities across the full spectrum of our membership.
As we move forward together in 2016, I am proud to say that one of NAWBO’s top initiatives is expanding our membership by attracting more diverse women entrepreneurs. We know this will benefit all of us as we connect with one another, lift each other up, share ideas and experiences, advocate for important women’s and business issues and even do business together. Just like a more diverse workforce makes for a more successful business, a more diverse membership pool will result in a more vibrant and stronger organization…and that’s great news for all of us!