At NAWBO®, we see it every day: women who are innovating to remain a step ahead of the competition, grow their businesses and make an impact in their local and state and the national economy—ultimately putting more people to work at a time when job creation so critical.
The result is a powerful and influential economic engine. According to the American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, in 2011, there are an estimated 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., which accounts for 29% of all enterprises in the country. Nationally, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 50% since 1997. Women-owned businesses generate $1.3 trillion in revenues and employ 7.7 million people in the U.S.
As I look around at corporations that support our women’s entrepreneurial community, it’s inspiring to see the ways in which they are innovating as well—giving even more power to women entrepreneurs as today’s economic engine.
AT&T, for example, announced last week at the Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) annual meeting in Washington, DC that its leasing subsidiary—AT&T Capital Services, Inc.—is offering small businesses interest rates as low as 5.9 percent on equipment leases, well below bank loans, which average nearly 10 percent. In addition, the company committed to doubling its small business leasing capacity over the next 18 months and tripling it over the next three years—allowing more companies to deploy new technology solutions or upgrade existing ones.
Additionally, Walmart, the parent company of NAWBO® corporate partner Sam’s Club, recently launched a Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative. By 2016, it aims to increase sourcing from women-owned businesses; empower women on farms and in factories through training, market access and career opportunities; empower women through job training and education; increase gender diversity among major supplier; and make significant philanthropic giving toward women’s economic empowerment.
Economic issues remain the No. 1 concern for Americans, but women business owners have the power and influence to impact change through innovation, growth and job creation. We at NAWBO® applaud these organizations for their support of women entrepreneurs.
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO® President and CEO