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Women Owned Small Businesses are Cooking Up Sustainable SMEs

Facts about Women Owned Small Businesses in 2008

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Facts About Women-Owned Businesses

The Center for Women's Business Research, whose mission it is to provide data-driven knowledge to help advance the economic, social and political impact of women business owners and their enterprises worldwide, offers a potpourri of data for Nearly 10.4 million firms are owned by women (50% or more), employing more than 12.8 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales.

The overall picture, according to the CFWBR, shows that:

Women Owned Businesses Grow!

  • For the past two decades, majority women-owned firms have continued to grow at around two times the rate of all firms (42% vs. 24%).

  • Women-owned firms, account for 41% of all privately held firms.

  • There are 2.4 million firms owned 50% or more by women of color in the U.S., employing 1.6 million people and generating nearly $230 billion in sales annually.

  • Between 1997 and 2006 the number of privately held firms 51% or more owned by women of color grew five times faster than all privately held firms (120% vs. 24%).

  • 77% of Asian women employer firms in operation in 1997 remained in business in 2000, the highest survival rate of all women-owned firms

Additionally, says the overview:

83% of women business owners are personally involved in selecting and purchasing technology for their businesses. 61% of Women business owners use technology to integrate the responsibilities of work and home, while 44% use technology to enable employees to work offsite or to have flexible work schedules.

75% of all firms do not have employees, while 81% of women-owned firms are without employees, for a total of 5.4 million firms. Sales revenue increased 66% for women-owned firms without employees from 1997-2004, compared to 42% for all such firms.

Women's Management Styles Affect Purchasing, Partnering and Succession Planning

Women and men business owners have different management styles. Women emphasize relationship building as well as fact gathering and are more likely to consult with experts, employees, and fellow business owners than are men.

Women owners who plan to sell their business are more concerned than their men counterparts about the buyer's identity, personality, and background (72% vs. 39%), the buyer's plans for the business (79% vs. 52%), and plans for current employees (86% vs. 61%)

Women business owners are nearly twice as likely as men business owners to intend to pass the business on to a daughter or daughters (37% vs. 19%).

Large discrepancies exist in allocation of Federal contract dollars to women-owned businesses:

  • Women-owned businesses represent more than half of the businesses in Health Care and in Educational Services, yet they receive only 7% of the Federal contracting dollars in Health Care and about 2% in Educational Services.
  • In Utilities, 14% of the businesses are women-owned, but receive only 1% of Federal contract dollars.
  • In Transportation, 12% of the businesses are women-owned, but receive less than 1% of Federal contract dollars.

Center for Women's Business Research

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