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Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century

futurework: Chapter 4 - Box 4.3

B O X 4.3


The state of women-owned businesses today is impressive:

  • From 1987 to 1999, the number of women-owned firms in the United States more than doubled.
  • About 40 percent of all businesses in America today are owned by women.
  • Women-owned businesses employ 27.5 million workers and generate annual sales and receipts of $3.6 trillion.
  • Women start businesses at twice the rate of all business start-ups.
  • The greatest growth in women-owned businesses between 1992 and 1999 occurred in the construction, wholesale trade, transportation, communication, agriculture, and manufacturing industries.
  • Hispanic women are the fastest growing segment of the small business community—they are three times as likely to start their own business as other business owners.
  • More than 60 percent of women-owned small business start-ups are based at home.

Despite progress, women business owners still face obstacles. Securing sufficient financing to take a business to the "next step" remains one of the largest inhibitors. Women’s access to capital—both debt and equity financing—has been limited because many of their businesses are simply too small to meet the criteria of most venture capital funds. Groups such as the founders of the Women’s Growth Capital Fund hope to reduce such financial impediments through a venture capital fund designed to finance women-owned businesses into the twenty-first century.

Source: National Foundation for Women Business Owners, 1999 Facts on Women-owned Businesses: Trends in the U.S. and the 50 States, and the Small Business Administration, Advocacy Report on Women in Business, October 1998.

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