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December 1, 2009

Women Business Owners Contribute a Total Economic Impact of $3 Trillion! And the Only Ones Getting Sold Short Are the Women.

(glass piggy banks by Roost from Velocity Art & Design)
(article in full posted on Huffington Post 12/1 - Adelaide Lancaster)

Apparently the independence we women entrepreneurs seek is coming at a big price. The benefits of entrepreneurship are driving more women than ever into self-employment, yet the financial rewards necessary to make this trend stick, still elude most of us.

In October the Center for Women's Business Research published the first ever study on the economic impact of women business owners in the US.

The following data were rightly heralded by many media outlets as a great triumph:

* There are approximately 8 million women-owned businesses nationwide

* Women-owned businesses employ 23 million workers (16% of total US jobs)

* Women business owners account for approximately $3 trillion dollars of total economic impact

Pretty impressive stuff.

As someone who strongly believes that entrepreneurship is an important economic and employment vehicle for both women and the US, I am thrilled to see the growing national economic contribution by women-owned businesses confirmed. Understandably then I was disturbed by one underreported statistic.

According to the study, 87.5% of all women-owned businesses are without employees - perhaps a dramatic majority, but not necessarily a problematic one. Let's not forget that flexibility is the third most motivating startup factor for women business owners, according to a 2006 MasterCard survey, and many such women feel that the responsibility of managing employees would impinge upon that.

What is disturbing upon further examination of these statistics, however, is that the projected average annual revenue of these non-employee firms is $27,000, compared to the average annual revenue for firms with employees of $910,000. This means that 87.5% of women owned businesses are only making 17% of the revenue.


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