August 27, 2012

Women and Business in Iowa

According to our report SHE MATTERS: 2012 Status of women and Girls in Iowa, a 2012 report by American Express tracked the overall growth and growth by industry of women-owned businesses across the country.  In the report, Iowa was listed as last in the nation in revenue growth of women-owned businesses, and second to last in the nation for increase in the number of firms and overall employment by women-owned businesses.

But the national picture is much more reassuring.  This week, I received another article prepared by American Express OPEN, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Women-Owned Businesses, that provides benchmarks from studies of women-owned businesses in an effort to encourage more women to put their business plans into action, and to provide a more accurate picture of the business environment.

Here are the “10 things:”

1.       In the past 15 years, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 54%; there are now 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States (more than the number of people in 50% of the world’s countries).

2.      Despite owning nearly 30% of U.S. businesses, women attract only 5% of the nation’s equity capital; in first-year funding, women receive 80% less capital than men.

3.       Women-owned businesses employ 7.7 million people - 40% more people than three largest employers — McDonald’s, IBM and Wal-Mart — combined (this is a 9% increase in employment over the past 15 years).

4.      Women-owned firms generate revenues of $1.3 trillion. Over the past 15 years, women-owned businesses saw 58% increase in revenue, from $546 billion to $1.3 trillion now - more than the combined market cap of Apple, Microsoft, GE, Google and Sony.  Revenue has grown more than twice the amount of U.S. population growth during the same period of time.

5.       The industries with the fastest growth and greatest share of women-owned firms are educational services, health care and social assistance, and entertainment and recreation.

6.      In seven out of 13 of the most populous industries, women-owned firms are exceeding overall growth.

7.       The top states for women-owned businesses are Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming and North Dakota; top cities are Sacramento, Riverside, San Antonio, Houston, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

8.      2% of women-owned businesses bring in more than $1 million in annual revenue, versus 5% of all firms.

9.      As they reach 5-9 employees or earn $250,000, women-owned businesses experience faltering growth.

10.   Of women-owned businesses, 5.5% used a loan to get started, compared to 10.7% overall.

As a next step in our ongoing work to address the issues reported in SHE MATTERS, Chrysalis and the Iowa Women’s Leadership Project are creating a handbook of recommendations for elected officials, communities, and individuals to use in order to take action.  The handbook will be entitled If SHE MATTERS to You, Here’s What You Can Do, and it will be printed for our distribution this fall.