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Five tips for covering women-owned businesses

September 17, 2015

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Photo courtesy of Sam Churchill on Flickr.

Women own nearly 10 million businesses in the United States, and that number continues to grow. According to the National Women’s Business Council, women-owned businesses provide over 23 million jobs and are expected to provide another 5 million additional jobs by 2018. Here are some resources and tips for covering women-owned businesses.

 1. Business classifications

First, what exactly is a woman-owned business? Women-owned businesses are identified in the U.S. Census as businesses in which more than half the total equity, interest and stock are owned by women. There is also a special woman-owned business designation that requires women business owners to follow these steps on the Small Business Association website and brings with it easier access to government contracts. Go here to locate women-owned businesses in your area.

Check public records to find out what percentage of government or municipal contracts went to women-owned businesses in your area.

2. Access to startup capital

According to the National Women’s Business Council, the average amount of money women use to start a business is $75,000, while men typically start with more than $130,000 in capital. Women founders of startups typically receive 25% of the venture capital that men do. And less than half of women business owners use financial institutions to fund their businesses.

Ask the women-owned businesses in your area about how they funded their companies. Have they been able to scale quickly with their startup funding, or do they wish they had received more capital? Did they experience any barriers to startup funding?

3. Fastest growing sectors

The fastest growing industries for women-owned businesses are health care, educational services, administrative support, waste management and retail. The greatest number of women-owned businesses are currently operating in the health care and social services sector. Census data will show you the number of women-owned businesses in each sector in your state and their collective revenues. If you want to find women-owned businesses in a specific sector near you, this database will help.

4. States with the most growth

American Express recently did a study about women-owned small businesses. They found that since 1997, the number of businesses owned by women has grown the most in Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Nevada and Mississippi. Click here to see statistics about the women-owned businesses in your state.

How does your state compare? Does it seem to support women-owned business?

Use the Small Business Administration’s database to locate women-owned business in your area. Contact them and ask if they feel the state supports women-owned business.

5. Minority-owned businesses

One third of all women-owned businesses are now owned by minorities. This is an increase since 2007, when female minorities only owned 17 percent of women-owned businesses.

You can also use census data to see how these statistics break down in your area.

Look into your local economy and learn about the women-owned businesses that are part of it. What sectors do they occupy? What is their impact on the local economy? Are their businesses growing? What unique challenges do they face? How are local and state governments working to support women-owned businesses in your region?

Check out this video for help finding local data using the Small Business Administration and U.S. Census databases.


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