NAWBO Partner Releases Report: The growth of women-owned businesses, in hard numbers | NAWBO

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NAWBO Partner Releases Report: The growth of women-owned businesses, in hard numbers

Aug 23, 2016 Mary Johnson, Editor - Bizwomen, The Business Journals 

Women-owned businesses are growing, expanding and hyper-focused on being local, first and foremost.

Women-owned businesses are a fast-growing segment of the U.S. business market, with women expected to own 39 percent of all U.S. businesses by 2017.

But that’s not the only piece of good news from a new study of small and mid-sized business owners conducted by Bizwomen’s sister company, The Business Journals: While the number of women-owned businesses is growing fast, so are the businesses themselves.

About 32 percent of women-owned businesses are actively expanding, compared to just 27 percent of men-owned businesses. And 77 percent of women owners plan to hire full-time employees over the next 12 months.

As part of the study, American City Business Journals conducted interviews with 1,366 business owners, C-level executives and key decision makers — 441 women and 925 men. Their businesses employ between five and 499 employees. The report was released Tuesday and is now available for free download here.

That growth in the number of women-owned businesses represents a significant increase over 2012, when 36 percent of all businesses were owned by women. That means the number of women-owned businesses has grown from around 9.9 million in 2012 to 12.5 million expected for 2017.

There are more women-owned businesses in white-collar services ( 39 percent) than in any other industry, but there is representation across the spectrum. Construction accounts for about 5 percent of women-owned businesses; manufacturing has about 12 percent. And retail represents about 16 percent.

Here are some other interesting stats from the study:


49— The average hours women work per week.


66%— The percentage of women who said the needs of their businesses often take precedence over personal responsibilities. That compares to about 61 percent of men.


63%— The percentage of women business owners who are married, versus 80 percent of men owners.


45%— The percentage of women who are “very concerned” about business issues. That’s higher than men, of whom 39 percent reported similar levels of concern. That difference grows when it comes to concern over personal life issues: In that case, 47 percent of women report feeling “very concerned,” compared to 37 percent of men.


94%— The percentage of women who generate sales locally, within their communities. And 64 percent of women owners say their companies live or die by how much business they generate locally.