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Women-Owned Businesses Flourish in 2012


Want to work at a firm that's poised for growth? Look for a company with a female owner. Over the past 15 years, the number of women-owned businesses has gone up 54 percent; in addition, employment has risen 9 percent and revenue is up 58 percent. Only the big-name, publicly traded firms can match those numbers.

These figures are from the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report by American Express OPEN, which examined data from the U.S. Census Bureau from two periods: 1997 to 2002 and 2007 to 2012. Some key statistics included therein:

  • Women-owned businesses, of which there are over 8.3 million, generate $1.3 trillion in revenue and employ 7.7 million people.
  • Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina are the three states that have seen the biggest rise in women-owned businesses.
  • Two surprising industries in which female-owned firms are just as likely as all companies to bring in over $500,000 in revenue are construction and transportation and warehousing.

The report isn't all roses, however: it reveals that two particularly thorny hurdles for women-owned businesses are breaking the $499,999 revenue barrier and surpassing the 5-to-9-employee size class. "Even as women-owned firms continue to grow in number at rates exceeding the national average, enterprises at the $250,000 to $499,999 revenue mark are at a turning point in their development," said Susan Sobbott, the president of American Express OPEN. "In order to further advance and grow these businesses, new management tools must be implemented."

Are you surprised that firms owned by women are flourishing despite the economy?

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(Photo credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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