The Data Is In: Women-Owned Businesses Are Growing Nationwide

Every October, the small business world comes together to celebrate the undeniable, incredible success of women-owned companies for National Women’s Small Business Month. Last month, events around the country highlighted the prosperity of women business owners, and pushed to put women in the best possible position to continue to grow and scale their businesses by helping provide access to capital and new markets. This year’s “10 Million Strong” theme honored the 10 million women who are innovating and impacting the economy while also making waves in social justice and gender equality.
To compliment National Women’s Small Business Month, new data was released by Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management highlighting how favorably women-owned businesses’ growth stacks up in comparison to the national average. For instance, in 2002, there were less than 7 million women-owned, small businesses. Now, there are well over 10 million (and counting!) women-owned small businesses that are innovating, creating jobs and contributing to the economy as a whole.

Girl Power is Growing

In the latest Private Capital Access (PCA) Index , women-owned businesses are expecting more growth over the next six months than the national average. Many emerging industries are being pioneered by a large number of female business owners, which has helped contribute to the anticipated growth for female-owned small businesses. As seen in the infographic and according to the report, 61% of all small businesses are expecting to hire within the next six months, and 69% of women-owned businesses are anticipating hiring new employees during this time. Nationally, 37% of small businesses are looking to raise financing for their companies in comparison to the 39% of women-owned businesses. Due to the expected growth, 67% of women-owned small businesses are anticipating the need for financing.

Are Women-Owned Business Getting the Help Needed?

With the celebration of success also comes the push for more growth and expansion. While women-owned small businesses are expecting exponential growth, they are continuing to feel restricted by their current business environment. Despite countless efforts to even the playing field, small businesses that are owned and run by women still appear to be held back financially from growth opportunities.
Women-owned companies are statistically in need of more financing and are statistically asking for more help, however national banks are simply not lending as much to these companies. Thirty-six percent of all companies applying for a loan received one, however, only 23% of women-owned corporations qualified for a loan.

Adapting to Restricted Access to Capital

So, what does this mean for businesses that are not receiving help? Based on the survey results, it appears that women-owned business owners are seeking capital from alternative sources or relying on their own personal assets to advance their companies. Female small business owners are pouring their own money into their companies at a rate of 37%. Personal credit cards are being used at a 64% rate, 12% above the national average. Sixty-three percent of female business owners are taking out personal loans and spending them on their businesses, nearly 20 percentage points above the nation’s average. Additionally, 73% of women-owned small businesses are using of company credit cards.
The goal of the National Women’s Business Foundation during National Women’s Small Business Month is not only to celebrate the many achievements of female business owners, but also to continue to lead the fight for helping level the playing field for women-owned businesses. The NWBF is striving to keep the momentum rolling for female entrepreneurs.


Amber Colley

Business Credit Expert and Vice President at Dun & Bradstreet Emerging Businesses
Amber Colley is a Business Credit Expert and Vice President with Dun & Bradstreet who brings 20 years experience working with businesses of all sizes to help them grow and prosper.She has coached thousands of business owners on establishing a business credit profile that will get them the funding, cash flow and finance terms they need, and is an industry resource on how business image and credit history tie into a company’s creditworthiness and credibility.She has experience in a range of business sectors with actionable advice for business owners in just about any industry. Amber is passionate about working as a small business advocate to help business owners grow their business and fuel our economy.

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