Owning a business is no small feat, but in recent years, women have taken on starting their own businesses, leaving the nine-to-five to become entrepreneurs. In 2022, they were more likely to start a business than men. Last year, women-owned businesses had higher earnings growth (27% increase) than male-owned firms (22%). Still, male-owned businesses received $93,000 in funding, while women-owned businesses received $56,000. There are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., and the number of firms owned by women of color increased by 43%. An estimated ten million people are employed by women-owned companies, generating nearly $1.8 trillion in revenue.
These are powerful numbers, and this issue's features validate this direction. Susan Gravely founded Vietri, along with her mother and sister, in 1983, when less than 9% of women owned businesses. Melissa Dulaney launched Southern Tribute in 2020, capitalizing on a COVID layoff to finally realize her dream. And Nathalie Brooks started her company, Brooks and Bridges, also during the pandemic, to tailor to the tableware needs of people of color. Each woman typifies the top three motivations for women starting their own businesses: pursuing their passion; gaining financial independence; and increasing their flexibility.
................................ Women have had the right to vote since 1920, so it's no understatement that we've come a long way in the last century thanks to pioneering women who have blazed trails. But with a vast gender wage gap and the pandemic destabilizing progress, we still have a long way to go.
It's estimated that 849 new women-owned businesses open every day, and the majority (68.9%) of women business owners are Gen Xers. During the startup phase, women-led companies use two-thirds less capital than male-led companies. Women-owned businesses are catching up to male-owned businesses, comprising 42% of all companies in America. But it's not all rosy: according to the National Women's Business Council's 2022 report, 38% of women-owned businesses reported that their sales saw significant decreases during the pandemic, whereas that number was 31% for men-owned businesses. That same report also points out that solely women-founded startups raised just 2.4% of venture capital. And the gender wage gap is considerable: full-time working women are paid 83.7% of what men are paid, and the inequity is even greater for women of color. Women's labor is undervalued.
To help level the playing field and boost a significant part of the economy and our communities, it's essential to support women-owned businesses. We vote with our dollars every day. Who and what we give our money to is our decision alone, and it matters. Women are making history as the primary breadwinners for their families while also leading about 40% of households. Supporting small businesses owned by women from all socioeconomic groups means supporting companies that contribute to local economies and provide good jobs.
"I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody's passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn't mind learning."