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Woman-owned Small Business, Challenges and Potentials

October 18, 2012

October is the National Woman’s Small Business Month. It is a time to celebrate women in the currently male-dominated world of small business owners. Women leaders of small businesses have gone a long way to achieve what they have today, yet their role is limited. This article by Jon Cook for Reuters helps us look back at the journey that female entrepreneurs have gone through up to this point. He points out the gender gap in the entrepreneur and small business owner community. In the article, Hedy Ratner, founder of the Women’s Business Development Center, shared some statistic insights:

Men are twice as likely as women to own a business that brings in $1 million in revenues (6 percent versus 3 percent), according to a 2009 survey of 417 women-owned small businesses by the Center for Women’s Business Research. The study also found women-owned firms generated just 4 percent of all U.S. business-related revenues

According to the article, a third of small businesses in the US is owned by women, compared to 10% twenty five years ago. The most substantial reason for women lagging behind is lack of funding, Jon said.

Dana Pinkava of the Washington Post does not have an optimistic view of woman-owned small business, either. In her article tilted “Woman-owned small-business program a work in progress, Dana pointed out the disappointing results that the SBA-led initiative in favor of women business owner achieved in the last 1.5 years since its implementation. Despite the effort to establish a fixed percentage of contracts to be awarded to women-owned small businesses every year, the initiative still lacked diversity in participating industries and did not increase  the actual number of contracts women-led companies.

However, we should not disregard the incredible growth of the female business owner sector in the past decade. The good news is a lot of organizations and initiatives have been formed to support the advancement of female entrepreneurs. This article by La Mancha Sim suggests some resources that woman business owners can employ to find funding. The SBA set up a series of webinars focusing on finding capital and scoring contracts. SCORE Lancaster have had many female clients in the past; and many of them have been running a very successful business of their own. In the spirit of October, we hope that the upward stick trend in woman-owned small business will continue its momentum.

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