October is National Women’s Small Business Month

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, a time to recognize and celebrate women-owned businesses. It’s also a time to acknowledge the outstanding progress female entrepreneurs have made over the years. In fact, female entrepreneurs are creating new businesses, disrupting established industries and developing innovative products at a record pace.

The Facts

According to JuneCPA:

  • There are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States (that’s 42% of all companies in the U.S.). They employ 10 million people and generate about $1.8 trillion annually. (American Express)
  • 17% of Black women are starting businesses—faster than white women, at 10%, and white men, at 15%. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Female entrepreneurs in the U.S. rank their happiness at almost three times that of women who aren’t entrepreneurs or business owners. (Inc.)
  • In 2021, the number of women running Fortune 500 businesses hit an all-time record of 41. (Fortune)
  • As of 2021, 90% of companies worldwide have at least one woman in a senior management role. (Grant Thornton)
  • Companies with women in executive positions have a 34% higher total return to shareholders than companies that don’t. (Catalyst)
  • Adding one more woman to a company’s board of directors, while keeping the board size the same, produces a return on investment (ROI) of 8-13 basis points. (Egon Zehnder via Catalyst)
  • Female entrepreneurs ask for $35,000 less, on average, in business financing than do men—$89,000 on average for women vs. $124,500 on average for men. (Fundera)
  • Between 2014 and 2016, the number of employer firms owned by women grew 6%—twice the rate of employer firms owned by men. The growth was driven mostly by a 14% increase in employer businesses owned by minority women. (U.S. Small Business Administration)
  • In 2020, 28% of all business loan applications came from women-owned businesses. In 2021, 33% of all loan applications came from women-owned businesses. (2022 Biz2Credit Women-Owned Business Survey)
  • The average loan size for women-owned businesses in 2021 was $49,712, while the average loan size for men-owned businesses was $83,198. Loan approval rates were 40% for women and 41% for men. (2022 Biz2Credit Women-Owned Business Survey)
  • Women are globally paid less than men, earning on average only 77% of men’s wages. (UN Women)
  • 48% of female founders say what holds them back is the lack of available mentors or advisors. (Inc.)
  • The World Economic Forum calculated that the pay disparity gap between men and women would not close until 2157. (World Economic Forum)

Women in Business Trends

One of the most informative reports I’ve read about women in business is by Guidant Financial, 2022 Women in Business TrendsIt’s part of their annual Small Business Trends Report that includes reports on Entrepreneurs of Color, Franchise Trends and Women in Business.

The report is chock full of information. But what really struck me as most interesting is the following from the report:

This year, 59.22% of women reported that their business was currently profitable. Given the challenges of the past few years, it’s little surprise that 35% of business owners report that their business is not profitable. Don’t fret too much, though — remember that more than half of businesses surveyed are 5 years old or younger. Given that folk wisdom states businesses usually take two or three years to become profitable, it’s too early to worry that many of them not to have hit that mark yet.

Thank you, Guidant Financial!

It’s Time for Women to Own Their Power

Earlier this year, Bianca B. King wrote a great article at Entrepreneur.com about women business owners. In the article, Women Business Owners, It’s Time to Own Our Power, King shares powerful advice for new women entrepreneurs that want to fully honor their ambitions and reach their business goals. I especially like the following excerpt from the article:

As more women embrace entrepreneurship, it’s time for us to own our ambition and honor it by being unapologetic about our dreams and stepping fully into our power to reach our personal and professional goals.

I have seen too many women entrepreneurs afraid or ashamed to own their power. After years of being guided by patriarchal societal rules to downplay our achievements and talents, I understand why and empathize.

But now we know better, so we can do better not only for ourselves but for the next generation of women business leaders.

Very well said, Bianca!

Latino Women Entrepreneurs

As we’re also in the middle of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through October 15th, it’s fitting to share recent news about Latino women entrepreneurs and especially about disparities in business ownership for this group.

Why is it harder for Latinos, women to start small businesses? is an article written by Lau Guzmán of Record-Journal. Guzman shared:

Across the United States, it is harder for Latinos and women to start a small business and Connecticut is not an exception. A recent report from the SBA found that there is a large gap between workers and business owners for women and minorities, especially Latinos.

“Most of the people making decisions about who gets a loan are not women,” said JoAnn Gulbin at the Women’s Business Development Council of Connecticut. 

“Access to capital remains the single largest obstacle for women who are starting, trying to start or grow businesses.” 

Thanks for sharing this information, Lau.

Supporting Women Entrepreneurs

So, what can we do to help women entrepreneurs across our country – regardless of color, race & creed?

An article written by Terri Williams at Lendio.com, 5 Ways to Support Women Entrepreneurs, is a good place to start. The article’s list is as follows:

  1. Seek Out Women-Owned Businesses Online and In-Person. Perhaps the most important way to show support for women entrepreneurs is to be committed to seeking them out. “We can support them by being conscious of how we are spending our money and intentionally supporting women-owned businesses, says Wendy Muhammad, a real estate developer.
  2. Make It Easier to Find Women Entrepreneurs. Social media makes it easier to find women-owned businesses, but according to N. Damali Peterman, Esq., founder and CEO of Breakthrough ADR, this should extend beyond likes and shares by consumers. “For example, companies and influencers should highlight women-owned businesses in their networks and on their social media platforms,” she explained. “Online retailers like Amazon should have a symbol or identifying mark that indicates if a product is a woman-owned brand.” Peterman says she’s often been in a physical store trying to decide between 2 similar items and made her decision based on the “Woman-Owned” logo on the packaging.  
  3. Share Experiences. The sisterhood of women entrepreneurs can create a level of support that is mutually beneficial. “Meet each other on Zoom, connect via email, write content that expresses how you are experiencing the pandemic that can be shared,” recommends Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.
  4. Collaborate. Another way to show support for women entrepreneurs is to collaborate with them. Talia R. Boone, founder and CEO of Postal Petals, looks for ways to work with other women and support Black business owners to help them grow their respective businesses. However, she says it’s those collaborations with larger companies that can help change the trajectory of a small business. “Seek out opportunities to partner with and hire services of women-owned businesses,” Boone advises.
  5. Provide Mental Support and Mentorship. Being a woman entrepreneur is exciting, but it can also be frustrating and mentally draining. “If you have a woman in your life who is leading a small business, you can support her by encouraging her to evolve, adapt, and expand with the changing business landscape,” advises Bri Seeley, business growth advisor and entrepreneur coach. “Encourage her to look beyond what her business has been and to begin looking at what it could be.” Sometimes, that’s hard for women to do when they’re struggling to stay afloat while juggling numerous other roles at home. “The best way to help women entrepreneurs is to provide mental support to lift them up when they hit challenges,” says Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD, entrepreneurship coach, business branding mentor, and author of Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur.

Your article is greatly appreciated, Terri. Thank you!

SBA Resources for Women Business Owners

In 1972, there were a little over 400,000 women-owned businesses in the United States. Until 1988, women needed a male relative to co-sign if they wanted to apply for a business loan. That same year, the Women’s Business Ownership Act increased SBA’s access to capital to provide financial assistance to organizations geared toward women-owned small businesses.

By 2019, women-owned businesses represented 42% of all U.S. businesses and generated $1.9 trillion worth of revenue. Today, there are over 13 million women-owned businesses and counting. This month, SBA honors the milestone achievements of today’s women-owned businesses. 

Explore SBA’s resources for women entrepreneurs:

Read more on the SBA webpage recognizing National Women’s Small Business Month.

Let’s all do our part to help celebrate Women’s Small Business Month. We can start by including #WomensSmallBusinessMonth when posting across social media. Please let us know what you’re doing at your company to celebrate the event. The more ideas, the better.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!