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An Overview of Women Owned Businesses

Tags:  Women owned businesses, Women and work

What recession? Are we having a recession? Not according to the 16,000 women business owners that spoke with Paralelles Media Group.

According to a 2008 survey Paralelles conducted, 84 percent of the women they surveyed said they anticipate growth for their company in 2008. And 57 percent reported they expect to hire additional staff to handle the increased workload.

It's understandable why many women choose to go out on their own rather than continue to bump their head on the glass ceiling. But what really motivates them to jump into business for themselves?

In 2003 the Fortune Small Business 100 listed six companies that were founded and run by women or whose chairman, CEO, president, or CFO was female. In 2004 there were 14. In addition Fortune Magazine listed the top three reasons women choose to start a business are

  • To gain control over their own schedule (46 percent)
  • Desire to fill a lucrative, niche market (24 percent)
  • Frustration with the glass ceiling at big companies (23 percent)

But those aren't the only positive signs that choosing to be a woman entrepreneur is the right decision. Another recent study, this one by the Center for Women's Business Research, a nonprofit research group, says that

  • Women own 50 percent or more in 48 percent (up from 44 percent  in 1997) of privately held U.S. businesses
  • Women start twice as many businesses as men every day
  • Employment at woman-owned firms has risen twice as fast as in private companies overall

These are amazing numbers; and amazing women, a lot of amazing women. In fact there are so many powerhouse women entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. that several organizations have developed lists of their top favorites.

Recognizing Women Entrepreneurs

PINK Magazine claims that their ""exclusive list profiles the most influential women driving innovation and revenue at U.S.-based corporations around the world.""

Their list includes Lily Bentas, Chair and CEO of Cumberland Farms, one of the children of the founding Haseotes' family; Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chair and CEO of Carlson Companies, owners of well-known names such as Thomas Cook travel and financial services, Radisson and T.G.I. Friday's® restaurants; and Christine Liang, Owner and Founder of ASI Corporation, a wholesale distributor of computer software, hardware and accessories founded in 1987 and one of the largest woman-owned businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Professional Women's Magazine (PWM) focuses on ""promoting the advancement of multi-cultural diverse women in all aspects of business and employment to ensure equal opportunity"" and as such has named their choices for the top 100 minority business owners. Included are women such as Gloria Bohan, President and CEO of Omega World Travel in Fairfax, VA; Linda Garback of Total Travel Management in Troy, MI; and Janice Gryant Howroyd, Owner and Founder of ACT-1, a staffing services company, in Torrance, CA.

Even the U.S. Small Business Administration honors America's top entrepreneurs and names the National Small Business Person of the Year during Small Business Week. While this year's winner is Shawn Boyer, a transactional lawyer from Washington, D.C., who began the highly successful job website, SnagAJob.com, the first runner-up is Angela R. Timm, founder and CEO of Cottage Garden, Inc., in Bainbridge, IN, a line of sentimental framed gifts and music boxes that started as an outgrowth of her already successful retail business.

There are literally millions (9.1 to be exact) of women who own businesses in the U.S. today. And while it's not possible to recognize each and every one of them here, it is important to recognize the vast contribution they make to today's American workplace.

What You Should Know

According to the U.S. Census Bureau who prepared information for Women's History Month, March 2008, as of 2002:

  • There were nearly 6.5 million women-owned businesses with more than $939 billion in revenue
  • More than 7.1 million people were employed by women-owned businesses
  • Nearly one in three women-owned firms operated in health care and social assistance, and other services, such as personal services, and repair and maintenance
  • California had the most women-owned businesses, followed by New York and Texas

If you operate a woman-owned business and are looking for resources to help you be successful, here are some organizations you may want to know about.

Small Business Administration (Office of Women's Business Ownership) wants to help you realize your dreams and offers resources, guidance, and education for women to grow their business. SCORE® is a non-profit association and resource partner to the SBA which provides business counseling to small business owners. U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau advocates on behalf of women's work issues and offers information and guidance on age, wage, sexual discrimination and harassment, and fair pay initiatives. Offers free publications for women business owners.

StartUpNation offers step-by-step advice, articles, blogs and basic information abo how to start your own business. Women for Hire is not solely focused on the woman entrepreneur, but instead offers a resource for business owners and job seekers alike. Women for Hire offers career expos, speeches and seminars, a career-focused magazine, customized marketing programs, and an online job board that helps employers connect with professional women in all fields.

Count-Me-In is a not-for-profit fundraising organization that provides loans of $500 to $10,000 plus consultation and education for women across the U.S. The Women's Funding Network provides financial support to non profit groups working to improve the lives of women and girls. American Association of University Women advocates education and equality by providing fellowships, grants and awards to women and community action projects around the world, and funds pioneering research on women, girls and education.

National Fraud Information Center is a division of the non-profit National Consumers League dedicated to educating consumers about scams and how to avoid them. ScamBusters earned the Forbes ""Best of the Web"" by keeping you posted on potential scams and what to keep an eye out for. 

So there you have it. Just a little bit about women-owned businesses and some resources to get you started on your journey. Of course, don't forget to check out our sister articles Women Entrepreneurs: Three Questions to Help You Determine if You Will Be Successful in Your New Business Venture and Women's Professional Associations: Choosing the Right Women's Business Group for You.



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