The Perfect Storm of Opportunity

August 28, 2015
According to Carla Harris, chair of the National Women’s Business Council, now is the “perfect storm of opportunity” for women in business. Historically low interest rates, high female board presence, and an influx of cash in our country’s economy all contribute to this ideal timing. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of US firms only rose 2%, but women-owned firms excelled during that time period, rising 27%.   
 
While the majority of small businesses are still owned by men (64%) numbers demonstrate that non-white females are stepping up their game and expanding opportunities for their demographics, Fortune reports. Most impressive is the rate at which Hispanic women-owned businesses are being established. The latest Census data from 2012 show an increase of 87.5% in only five years. Their rate is shortly followed by black-women owned businesses at 67.5%, and Asian women-owned businesses at 44.3%. Fortune also brings to light that 60% of black-owned businesses are under female ownership.  
 
When asked for a reason for the rapid growth, Harris states: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” She cites that these extraordinary rates of growth may have been due to massive layoffs during the recent economic recession.  
 
The Wall Street Journal reports that even though women now own more than one third of all businesses, their companies are typically smaller and employ fewer people. Women-owned businesses average 8.5 employees, while their male counterparts average 13.5. Eleven percent of women-owned businesses have employees other than the owner, while 23% of male-owned operations employ outside the owner. Despite these numbers, women-owned businesses are opening at four times the rate of businesses owned by men. 
 
The complete results from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) are available here