"As employers of 19.1 million people, these
women-owned firms spend over half a trillion dollars annually
on just payroll and benefits"
Sharon Hadary, Executive Director, Center
for Women's Business Research
Nearly half of all privately held firms in the U.S. -- 10.6
million -- are owned 50 percent or more by women, says a new
Center for Women's Business Research study sponsored by
Fargo & Company.
According to the study,
"Women-Owned Businesses in 2004," between 1997 and 2004 the
number of women-owned firms with employees were estimated to
grow over 28 percent, nearly three times the rate of all
privately held firms, and twice the national rate of all firms.
Employment grew over 24 percent, more than twice the rate of all
firms, while revenues increased about 39 percent.
"Women-owned firms are growing, and increasing
their employment faster than the general market," said Joy Ott,
Regional President for Wells Fargo in Montana and National
Spokesperson for Wells Fargo's Women's Business Services
program. "These firms are driving growth in the American
workplace, while generating revenues at a similar rate to all
firms. This is a powerful statement about this fast-growing
segment of American small business owners."
"Businesses that are 50% or more women-owned are
growing at twice the rate of all firms, 17% vs. 9%. These
businesses are a critical component of the national economy, not
only in terms of their sheer numbers, but also in terms of their
impact on employment and revenue generation," said Sharon Hadary,
Executive Director, Center for Women's Business Research. "As
employers of 19.1 million people, these women-owned firms spend
over half a trillion dollars annually on just payroll and
The latest and most complete snapshot of
women-owned businesses in the U.S. also highlights the top 10
fastest growing states for women-business owners. Based on an
average rank 1997 to 2004 growth rates in the number, employment
and sales among privately held, 50% or more women-owned firms,
these states are:
6. New Mexico (tied)
7. South Carolina
8. North Carolina
The study results offer the most comprehensive
view of the growth and expansion of women-owned businesses,
tracking information like composition, spending habits and core
industries of women entrepreneurs nationwide. It is the latest
resource underwritten by Wells Fargo as part of its Women's
Business Services program, an outreach and education program
aimed at building relationships with women business owners by
sponsoring key community organizations and market research.
Measuring its progress with a new public goal to
lend $20 billion to qualified woman-owned businesses within ten
years, Wells Fargo has lent more than half a billion dollars
since re-establishing the goal in September 2003, and is now
tracking at 150% of its pro-rated objective. Since the program's
inception in 1995, Wells Fargo has lent more than $16 billion to
women business owners nationwide.
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