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Lead Your Team Women in Business

Women Owning More Business, But Making Less Money

More women are running businesses these days but their share of the revenue pie is dropping, a new study reveals.

The number of businesses owned by women grew by a whopping 44 percent between 1997 and 2007. Yet a new report to Congress by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce showed women’s revenues-based market share dropped 10 percent during the same period. The share of total U.S. business revenues going to businesses owned by women shrank from 4.41 percent to 3.95 percent.

With so much media emphasis on the growth of women-owned businesses, the fact that women’s market share is on the decline is likely to escape public notice, the report’s researcher said.  However, the challenges and struggles facing women entrepreneurs and business leaders in this country could have a much larger impact on the American economy .

“Women own over 7.8 million  firms, (28.75 percent of all firms in the U.S.) but secure only 3.95 percent of all revenues.  The opportunity loss and unrewarded risk, loss of job creatio n, market demand, tax revenues, and potential retirement assets greatly impacts America's financial future,” said U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) CEO, Margot Dorfman.  “One third of all businesses – a huge segment of our total business base – are declining instead of growing.  We cannot afford to not help women business owners.”

The disparity is due partly to  the fact that women-owned firms traditionally tend to be smaller than those owned by men.  While this statistic is changing, women’s businesses still face tremendous challenges in attaining federal contracts due to their size, said Dorfman.

The USWCC cites failure to access affordable capital, failure to access markets, and segregation from mainstream business development and leadership as reasons for the failure of women's businesses to achieve acceptable market share growth .

The USWCC has offered detailed recommendations to Congress in its report and is initiating aggressive regional activities to support women's businesses and fuel revenue growth.  In Florida, the USWCC has implemented a council that hosts meetings within specific regions, where they are providing a clear picture of where women are and rolling out strategies for change.

“Working within the regions, we will help to focus women as leaders within industries and communities so that they can access opportunities that they didn’t have before,” Dorfman told BusinessNewsDaily.


Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the managing editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.