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Lead Your Team Women in Business

Growth of Women-Owned Businesses Outpaces Rest of Country

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Women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than all but the country’s largest companies, a new study finds.

The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report,commissioned by American Express OPEN, found the 15-year growth in the number of women-owned firms, the number of workers they employ and the revenue they generate — up 54 percent, 9 percent and 58 percent, respectively — surpasses the growth rates of most all other businesses in the nation. 

The report estimates there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people.

In the last year alone, an average of nearly 550 new female-owned businesses opened each day.

Their success hasn't been limited to a particular industry, with the report showing female-owned firms are exceeding growth rates in seven of the 13 largest industries, including wholesale trade, finance and insurance, real estate, health care and social assistance, construction and arts/entertainment/recreation.

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But they do face challenges, and growing beyond the $500,000 revenue mark is among the biggest, the study shows.

"Even as women-owned firms continue to grow in number at rates exceeding the national average, enterprises at the $250,000 to $499,999 revenue mark are at a turning point in their development," said Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN. "In order to further advance and grow these businesses, new management tools must be implemented."

The research also examined the states in which women-owned businesses are best flourishing. Over the last 15 years, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas had the fastest growth among female-owned businesses.  Alaska, Iowa, West Virginia, Kansas and Ohio ranked near the bottom.

The second annual State of Women-Owned Business Report is based on data from the United States Census Bureau.


Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.