Women form a crucial part of the business world in the United States. According to a national survey commissioned by American Express, women-owned businesses (those with 51 percent or greater female ownership and control) number 11.6 million as of 2017. Over the 20 years from 1997 to 2017, the number of female-owned businesses has skyrocketed, enjoying a 114 percent increase while the number of businesses as a whole only rose by 44 percent.
This outstanding growth has not been followed up with revenue and employment numbers. Employment by women-owned businesses has only grown 8 percent while the revenue figures declined from 4.4 to 4.2 percent. This presents an amazing opportunity for growth in women-owned businesses. Amina Oyagbola, a successful entrepreneur, shares statistics and predictions for women’s businesses.
Women of color are important to the business world. Women of color make up 47 percent of all female business owners and leaders. Since 2007, the number of businesses owned by these women grew at an astounding rate of 163 percent. These firms face some of the same difficulties as the pool of women-owned businesses as a whole.
Revenue and employment numbers have not kept pace with the general number of businesses in the United States. There would be a potential of $1.2 trillion more revenue and 4 million new jobs if minority-owned businesses were commensurate with their numbers.
Why Do Women Start Businesses?
The reasons why women start a business are many. As with men, women are interested in taking advantage of growth opportunities within their communities. They have an entrepreneurial spirit and are willing to take risks to see their business ventures succeed. Starting their own business means that women can set their own hours, saving time for child care and elder care in their families.
Women may start businesses out of necessity because they find themselves supporting a family on their own due to death or divorce. Single parents and women without children are also interested in business. With a need to provide for their families, female entrepreneurs find that they are uniquely positioned to succeed in today’s competitive business world.
Successful Women in Business
There are dozens of examples of successful women running businesses today. The Women Presidents’ Organization compiled a list of the top ten fastest-growing female-owned businesses in the United States.
One of the fastest-growing women-owned businesses is the fitness chain Orangetheory. This business presents a new way for people to reach their fitness goals using high-intensity interval training. Orangetheory owns 700 gyms in the United States. The owner of this business, Ellen Latham, has sold up to 530 franchises of her company.
Pinnacle Group out of Dallas, Texas takes second place on the list of fastest-growing women-owned companies. The company, owned by Nina Vaca, is involved in recruiting and hiring technology employees. Pinnacle Group has many large clients including Electronic Data Systems, a payroll processing company. Electronic Data Systems contracted with Pinnacle Group for $180 million to employ technology workers in 45 states.
The third-place company on the Women Presidents’ Organization list is Technology Concepts Group International. Avis Yates Rivers, the owner, and CEO has owned a succession of successful businesses since leaving Exxon in 1984. As a minority-owned business, the company is involved with tech procurement. The company’s revenue saw outstanding growth in the years 2014 to 2018, with $6.7 million to $49 million.
Obstacles to Growth
Despite the amazing growth in women-owned businesses, there are hurdles to overcome. Women have more difficulty obtaining credit than men, meaning that their companies have less purchasing power. The stigma against women owning businesses persists to this day, and many women-owned businesses find that they have a difficult time selling to and contracting with male-owned businesses. As time goes by, it is hoped that these barriers will fall, ensuring equal treatment for female- and male-owned businesses.
Women have a growing place in the business world. Their unique contributions make the business world a better and more diverse place. Amina Oyagbola believes that women are poised to make changes in the business realm, bringing a new entrepreneurial spirit to the field.