Give Thanks for Progress and Opportunity | NAWBO


Give Thanks for Progress and Opportunity

Earlier this year, NAWBO surveyed its members to take their pulse on the overall economy, business growth and optimism around both. While economists have said the recession is over, our members showed cautious optimism and uncertainty. At the same time, however, they were optimistic about business growth. A 62% majority believed the health of their businesses would be better and 72% believed their revenues would be higher by year-end.

As we approach the end of the year, and during this week of giving thanks, it is heartening to see that although our members have remained cautious, it has not stopped them from moving forward—from taking the necessary risks and leaps of faith to grow their business. I have heard from women who are investing in marketing, tapping into social media, innovating products, emphasizing networking and resource building, increasing efficiencies and getting more in touch with critical areas of their business. Albeit slower in most cases than in the past, they are growing.

The bigger picture tells a similar story. On Friday, I attended a briefing at the White House on women and the economy. Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator Marie Johns were among the speakers. According to the Secretary of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women-owned businesses are the silver lining of today’s economy. We account for just 16 percent of total U.S. employment, however, we are the fastest-growing segment and on pace to significantly increase. In fact, there are now an estimated 8.1 million women-owned businesses, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people. Between 1997 and 2011, when the number of businesses in the U.S. increased by 34%, the number of women-owned firms increased by 50%—a rate 11⁄2 times the national average

Moreover, last year, a report from The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute indicated women-owned businesses are poised to become the economic job-creator for this decade—estimated to generate more than half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs expected to be created between now and 2018, as well as nearly one-third of the projected 15.3 million total new jobs.

It’s a historical time to be a woman business owner. Our progress, combined with so many exciting opportunities that still lie ahead, give us so much for which to be thankful.

—Diane Tomb, NAWBO president & CEO