In case you weren’t aware, October is National Women’s Small Business Month. The mission of this month-long awareness campaign is to showcase the successful businesses around the country that are owned, managed and operated by women. SnapCap is committed to be an affordable source of capital for successful women owned businesses.
Since 2007, the number of women-owned businesses (WOSBs) has increased over 27.5%, up from 7.8 million to 9.9 million as of 2012, according to August’s Survey of Business Owners. The Survey of Business Owners, released every five years, is a comprehensive survey of the demographics of business owners around the country. The numbers from the most recent survey indicated stronger than expected growth for female business owners.
“Women-owned and women-led businesses are truly a force to be reckoned with,” says Carla Harris, Presidentially-appointed Chair of the National Women’s Business Council. “Our theme this year is 10 million strong because we know women are launching businesses that create value and solve problems.”
The evidence is clear that the rapidly growing segment of businesses led by women is having a true impact on the economy. WOSBs make up 36.2% of all nonfarm businesses and generate $1.6 trillion in total receipts. Employer firms owned by women have increased by 143,000, employing a total of 8.9 million people and generating $1.4 trillion in receipts.
Despite this explosive growth for female businesses, which are starting up at roughly 1.5 times the rate for male-owned businesses, there are still major obstacles to overcome for women in business. For example, female entrepreneurs receive an average of $38,217 in financial capital for a new business. This is roughly half of what a male-owned business receives. While women-owned businesses secured 11.5% of federal contracts in 2012, they only received 5.3% of the award dollars.
The 2013 National Women’s Business Council Annual Report identified “access to capital” as the number one priority and hurdle for women-owned and women-led firms. The hurdles facing women in business are similar to those facing men in the same position, but to a greater degree than most of us probably realize. Women weren’t even allowed to get a business loan without a male relative co-signing before the Women’s Business Ownership Act was passed in 1988.
Women have come a long way in the business world, and the hard work of so many that paved the way for younger entrepreneurs is noticeable in today’s economy. However, there is still quite a gap between men-owned businesses and women-owned businesses that must be overcome. This month, support the campaign #10millionstrong to ensure the future for WOSBs is even better than today.