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.
Businesses Owned by Women of Color
- Women of color own an estimated 1.4 million firms, emloy nearly 1.3 million people, and generate $147 billion in sales (as of 2004).
- About 20% of majority women-owned businesses are owned by women of color.
- Women of color own 36% of all firms owned by persons of color (as of 2004).
Economic Leadership and Impact
- 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.
- Over half of all women business owners (57%) have a line of credit for their business and 41% have a commercial bank loan.
- An overwhelming majority of women entrepreneurs (86%) say they use the same products and services at home as they do in their business, and 68% do so consciously.
- Two-thirds (66%) of women business owners with $1 million or more in revenue rely on external accountants or financial specialists for financial advice.
- Annual expenditures by women-owned enterprises for just four areas—information technology, telecommunications, human resources services, and shipping—were estimated to be $103 billion in 2004.
Women as Employers
- Women-owned businesses spend an estimated $546 billion annually on salaries and benefits.
Women-Owned Businesses Without Employees
- Seventy five percent of all firms do not have employees; similarly, 81% of women-owned firms also 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).
Access to Markets
- Despite the fact that 60% of Fortune 1000 corporations spend more than $1 billion with outside suppliers annually, women-owned businesses account for only 4% of this market share (as of 2003).
- Women-owned businesses with $1 million or more in revenue are more likely than their smaller counterparts to have large corporations (34% vs. 12%) and government (31% vs. 8%) as their primary clients.
- Fifteen percent of women-owned businesses with $1 million or more in revenue say their primary market is international.
- The majority of women business owners in nontraditional industries (85%) believe there is no disadvantage to being a woman or that it is actually beneficial.
- Women business owners in nontraditional industries are more likely than men to have inherited their business from their mothers (17% vs. 2%) and more likely to plan to pass it on to their daughters (30% vs. 11%).
- Women-owned firms in nontraditional industries are just as likely to have $1 million or more in revenues as men-owned firms; also, 80% of women-owned nontraditional firms have employees—the same percentage as men-owned firms.
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%).