National Women’s Business Council Report Shows Women-Owned Businesses Thriving, Growing

Women are starting more than 1,140 businesses per day, employ 8
million people, and bring in annual revenues of $1.4 trillion

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of its celebration of March as Women’s History Month, the National
Women’s Business Council
(NWBC) today released
a new report
showing women-owned businesses now comprise 36 percent
of the country’s businesses. Women have been entering the ranks of
business ownership in the U.S. at rates far exceeding the national
average. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned businesses in
the U.S. increased at a rate of 2 1/2 times the national average, and
employment in women-owned businesses grew at a rate of 4 1/2 times all

This growth is documented in a new report, prepared by Womenable
for the NWBC. It is an analysis of the key trends and findings in
women’s business ownership, comparing figures from the 2002, 2007, and
2012 Surveys of Business Owners. In particular, the research highlights
sectors where women-owned businesses have bounced back from the 2007-09
recession and sectors where growth has not yet reached pre-recession

“It is exciting to report that, despite the recent recession, women are
now launching more than 1,140 new businesses across the country every
single day – a rate of more than 47 per hour,” said Carla Harris,
Presidentially-appointed Chair of the NWBC. “Our new research shows that
these enterprises are innovative, scalable and are strengthening our
economy by employing more than eight million workers and generating more
than $1.4 trillion in revenues.”

The data also shows key areas of growth in minority women-owned and
female veteran-owned enterprises, as well as in particular industries
nationwide and among certain geographic regions:

  • As of 2012, there are nearly 3.8 million businesses owned by women
    of color.
    In 2002, there were fewer than one million minority
    women-owned businesses.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the number of non-minority women-owned
    businesses grew by just 9 percent, while the number of minority
    women-owned businesses
    overall grew by 315 percent. This means
    that four in ten firms are minority women-owned.
  • There are now more than 383,000 female veteran-owned businesses in the
    U.S. This is an increase of 295 percent since 2002.
  • Women-owned businesses are found in every industry. In fact, two
    percent or more are found in 13 of the 19 major industries – including
    more than 260,000 women-owned construction firms, more than
    200,000 women-owned finance and insurance firms, and nearly
    160,000 women-owned transportation and warehousing enterprises.
  • The top three sectors in which women own businesses in the U.S.
    are “other services,” which include nearly 1 million beauty and nail
    salons; “health care and social assistance,” among which there are
    more than 600,000 child day care service businesses, and 1.3 million
    “professional/scientific/technical services” firms.
  • The sharpest rise in the number of businesses is happening in the
    The top states for growth are: Georgia (+92 percent),
    Mississippi (+89 percent), Texas (+85 percent), Florida (+85 percent),
    and Louisiana (+74 percent), with four out of the five fastest-growing
    metropolitan areas for women-owned firms also in the South. There
    are 19 states in which post-recession growth in the number of
    women-owned firms is at least 10 points higher than pre-recession
    growth – and most are in the North Central or Midwest regions of the

“We are particularly pleased to recognize the growth of women’s business
ownership throughout March, which is National Women’s History Month,”
said Amanda Brown, Executive Director of the National Women’s Business
Council. “With numbers like these that show advancement for female
entrepreneurs, the impact of women-owned businesses on our economy is
undeniable. We are proud of the progress that has been made, and will
continue our work to break down barriers and improve the business
climate for women.”

While the new data shows that an increasing number of women are starting
businesses today, there are still opportunities for significant growth.
The report also indicates those businesses still remain significantly
smaller than average. Women-owned businesses comprise 36 percent of the
country’s businesses, but they employ seven percent of the
private-sector workforce, and only contribute four percent of business
revenues. An overwhelming majority, 91 percent of women-owned firms,
have no employees other than the owner. Only two percent of women-owned
firms have more than 10 employees. These firms alone though are
responsible for three-quarters of the jobs provided by all women-owned

NWBC is a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as
an independent source of advice and counsel to the U.S. Small Business
Administration, Congress and the White House on issues of impact and
importance to women business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs.


National Women’s Business Council (NWBC)
Media Contact
Reape, 202-884-7325