TERESA MEARES, CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, NAWBO, [email protected]
An increasing number of women are investing in being entrepreneurs. As they do, they bring their considerable professional experience along with them.
Many statistics show women starting businesses at twice the rate of men. This is good for women overall and the nation’s economy as women tend to invest up to 90 percent of their income back into their communities.
Women entrepreneurs represent 36.2 percent of businesses in the U.S. and are also the fastest growing segment of the U.S. economy, employing more than 13 million people and generating $1.9 trillion in sales. Additionally, women are expected to generate more than half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs by the year 2018. Interestingly, only 10.6 percent of all the women-owned firms are employer firms, however this power group provides 8.9 million jobs and makes up $1.4 trillion in receipts.
By doing things like employing cost controlling tactics and using social media for marketing, businesses with women at the helm fared the recent recession better than their male counterparts.
Being hands-on helps
Statistics also show that when women are engaged—in businesses, on corporate boards, in elective office—they bring their own experiences and expertise to the table and change things for the better. According to 2010 Census statistics, while women-owned businesses represented nearly 50 percent of privately held companies, only 1.8 percent of their businesses reported more than $1 million in revenue. The most recent data of self-reporting among NAWBO members reveals that approximately 30 percent of our members have met or exceeded that $1 million in revenue threshold.
So what can we do to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs.
Invest in them. Our internal survey data reveals that our members are investing in themselves, literally. Most NAWBO members utilize personal savings or personal credit cards to fund their businesses and often show a reticence to pursue more traditional funding means.
Four c’s of support
Loan approval rates are about 15-20 percent lower for women entrepreneurs and statistics reveal that not enough venture capital goes to women entrepreneurs. This is true for a myriad of reasons.
Women could benefit from support in four key areas: capital and increased preparation and access to all funding means; community, both online and in person, that allows them to connect with other individuals who have been through similar challenges or are presently undertaking them as well; confidence and support to trod the sometimes lonely and difficult path of entrepreneurship; and capitols—increased access to elected officials who make decisions affecting their businesses, so everyone understands the contribution women entrepreneurs make to our economy.
Women entrepreneurs give back to their employees, their communities and the country as a whole. Let’s keep investing in them. It will truly benefit us all.