The National Women’s Business Council’s Latest Report on Women Business Owners’ Access to Markets

May 18, 2018 | Uncategorized


The National Women’s Business Council today released a new research report, analyzing obstacles that women business owners face in their access to customer markets:Understanding the Landscape: Access to Markets for Women Entrepreneurs.

The report is a comprehensive literature analysis on women business owners’ access to markets examined through various political, economic, social, and technical elements that impact women in business. It helps to identify gaps in the existing research to assist the National Women’s Council in developing areas of future investigation that are vital to the women’s business entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Women-owned businesses are a major component of the U.S. economy. Measured in terms of quantity and economic value, women-owned businesses account for approximately 20 percent of all businesses with paid employees and a combined payroll of $293.I billion in 2015. To put this latter figure into perspective, if women-owned businesses were a country and their 2015 payroll were that country’s gross domestic product, then the women-owned businesses would have been the world’s 37th largest economy, greater than Ireland, Finland, New Zealand, and 133 other countries. 

“Women business owners do face a number of obstacles in their access to financial capital and customer markets. As women business owners develop innovative ideas and enter into new markets, it is important they receive crucial support from the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to thrive and continue to contribute to the nation’s economy,” commented Jen Earle, NWBC Council Member and CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners. 

Studies centered on the political, economic, social, and technical factors affecting market access for U.S.-based women business owners are relatively new. One consequence of this is that the gaps in the research are numerous. However, the scarcity of relevant literature suggests that the field is ripe for additional study.

According to Rose Wang, NWBC Council Member and Representative of Women Impacting Public Policy, “Access to the federal marketplace is a persistent challenge for many women-owned small businesses, It is important that the federal government continues to expand and improve opportunities for women entrepreneurs to navigate the contracting process to secure those contracts and opportunities to expand.”

Access to federal markets was highlighted in the report together with other most notable results including: 

  • Open-source research on the political factors affecting women business owners’ access to markets in the United States has largely focused on the federal level. 
  • The available studies have not investigated a range of economic variables that affect this access, such as the effect of export credit insurance on women-owned businesses’ access to foreign markets or information on corporations’ supplier diversity programs in relation to women-owned businesses. 
  • Council research highlighted that there was only one relevant article that covered the social factors affecting market access for U.S.-based women business owners.
  • Further research into innovation and technology for women business owners can be a vital asset to the ecosystem; such as the effectiveness of web-based entrepreneurial trainings in relation to women’s confidence in their technical capacity for their entrepreneurial journeys.


Download the full report at

About NWBC 
NWBC is a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Congress and the White House on issues of impact and importance to women business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs. To learn more about NWBC, visit

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, “U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs,” accessed January 9, 2018,

Based on data provided by the World Bank (United Nations Statistics Division, “GDP at Market Prices [Current US$],” accessed February 14, 2018,

The focus of this report is research published between 2010 and 2017. 

Elizabeth A. Mack, Lisa Marie-Pierre, and Kyle Redican, “Entrepreneurs’ Use of Internet and Social Media Applications,” Telecommunication

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