What do these businesses have in common? Flickr, Build-a-Bear, Eventbrite, SlideShare. They were all founded by women.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), women small business owners are one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy. Thank the inspiring role models who have paved the way and showed younger generations that it can be a viable and lucrative career move. (Even the former head of the Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, was a small business owner.)
By the Numbers… Based on this years American Express OPEN's State of Women-Owned Business Report, 1,200 new businesses a day were started by women over the past year (up from an average of 740 a day the year prior). Between 1997 and 2014, the total number of small businesses increased by 47%, while the number of women-owned small businesses increased by 68%. (This growth is more than 1.5 times the national average!)
The report also estimates that, as of 2014, there are almost 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., generating over $1.4 trillion in revenue.
Funding and Resources Available Yet, with all this growth, there are still many challenges women encounter. One of the main challenges is a lack of access to capital and resources. While this challenge isn't just unique to women business owners, fortunately there are programs in place that are uniquely available to women. For instance, the SBA offers support through their network of over 100 Women's Business Centers nationwide, plus they started the SBA Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program to help put more federal contracts into the hands of women business owners.
In terms of funding resources, the SBA zeroed out fees to borrowers on SBA-supported loans under $150k - which are a common way to finance underserved entrepreneurs like women.
While several of our clients utilize SBA loans, we also have helped many women entrepreneurs utilize their retirement plans to purchase a new business, tax deferred and penalty-free. Some of our inspiring women entrepreneur clients are Glory Gallucci who started Any Lab Test Now, Vicky Lewis who opened Mazama Coffee Company, and Paula Lewis of JunkAway.
The timing is definitely right if you're a woman looking to start a business. If you're interested in discussing funding options available to you, contact one of Benetrends funding experts today.