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Key Facts About Women-Owned Businesses

The Overall Picture
  • 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.

  • Three quarters of all women-owned businesses are majority owned by women (51% or more), for a total of 7.7 million firms, employing more than 7.1 million people, and generating $1.1 trillion in sales.

  • 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, 50% or more owned by women, account for 41% of all privately held firms.
Businesses Owned by Women of Color
  • 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%).

  • Women of color own 42% of all firms owned by persons of color, up from 36% in 2004.

  • Asian women employer firms have the highest survival rate of all women-owned firms: 77% of their businesses in operation in 1997 remained in business in 2000.
Technology and Business Growth
  • The vast majority (83%) of women business owners are personally involved in selecting and purchasing technology for their businesses.

  • Women business owners' top concerns about technology are the protection and security of data.
    • Security of internet purchase:  82%
    • Computer viruses:  81%
    • Protecting business data: 77%
    • General system failure:  73%

  • Contrary to common perception, women business owners are as likely as men business owners to be willing to adopt new technology and more likely (24% vs. 18%) than women in general.

  • Women business owners value technology as a means to create workplace flexibility:
    61% use technology to integrate the responsibilities of work and home.
    44% use technology to enable employees to work offsite or to have flexible work schedules.
Million Dollar Businesses
  • 3% of all women-owned firms have revenues of $1 million or more compared with 6% of men-owned firms.

  • Women-owned firms with revenues of $1 million or more are more likely than other women-owned businesses to market their products and services nationally.

  • Women owners of firms with revenues of $1 million or higher embrace financial measurements as management tools and produce more financial reports more often.
Women-Owned Businesses Without Employees
  • Seventy-five percent of all firms do not have employees; similarly, 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-owned firms without employees generate more than $167 billion in annual sales (as of 2004).
Exit Strategies of Women Business Owners
  • Women and men business owners are equally concerned about price when selling their business.

  • Women owners who plan to sell 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%
    • 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%).
Banking and Finance
  • Women business owners' satisfaction with banking relationships has more than doubled since 1992 (35% vs. 82%).

  • More than two-thirds (67%) of women business owners choose financial products and services based on their relationship and experience with a lender.

  • Women business owners who obtained capital persevered, making an average of four attempts to obtain bank loans or lines of credit and 22 attempts to obtain equity capital.
Characteristics of Women Business Owners
  • Women business owners are prepared to face risk: most (66%) are willing to take above average or substantial risks for business investments.
  • 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.

  • Women owners of firms with $1 million or more in revenue are more likely to belong to formal business organizations, associations or networks than other women business owners (81% vs. 61%).

Key Facts about Women -Owned Businesses, 2008 Update will be available June 20, 2008. The Key Facts are in a compact and concise pocket-sized brochure (100 per bundle) for use at your meetings, events and as give-aways.

Please contact Jennifer Graham at (202) 638-3060 x714 for order information or if you have any questions.