Supporting women-owned businesses is a critical means to drive our community’s economic prosperity. When you do so you are investing in women’s economic empowerment, gender parity in commerce, vibrant communities, and the growth of the economy overall. Women-owned businesses represent a significant portion of our economy. There are nearly 13 Million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 9 million people and generating $1.9 trillion in revenues.
According to the 2019 American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, the number of women-owned businesses is growing two times the rate of all businesses nationwide, now representing 42 percent of all businesses. Women of color are starting businesses at 4.5 times the rate of all businesses. While the number of women-owned businesses grew 21 percent from 2014 to 2019, firms owned by women of color grew 43 percent and Black women-owned firms grew even faster at 50 percent. As of 2019, women of color account for 50 percent of all women-owned businesses and make a significant economic impact: an estimated 6.4 million women of color-owned businesses employ nearly 2.4 million people and generate $422.5 billion in revenue.
Women-owned businesses are job creators. Total employment in women-owned businesses grew by 8%, while the total for all business was only 2%. The economic contribution of these businesses is undeniable, from the revenue they generate to the people they employ.
As work trends shift towards side hustles and the gig economy, so does female entrepreneurship. Over the last five years, growth in the number of women starting business as a side hustle has grown at a rate that is nearly twice as fast as the overall growth in female entrepreneurship: 39% compared to 21%, respectively. Minority women are responsible for a large portion of that growth from 2014-2019 where we see side hustles among minority women-owned businesses two times higher than all businesses at 65% vs. 32%.
While shopping at women-owned businesses is important, there are other ways you can help these businesses thrive:
- Contact governmental leaders at the local, state and federal levels to ask them to look for ways to remove barriers for women starting and running businesses. Access to capital is one big challenge where these leaders can help.
- Look at your business operations and see if there are more opportunities to include women-owned businesses in your mix of suppliers.
- Provide grants for your firm’s services to help women-owned businesses grow.
- Look at your charitable giving and direct it towards organizations working to empower women entrepreneurs.
There is no doubt that women-owned businesses hold a key to our community’s future. We need to look for ways to help them grow and thrive. Our community depends on it.