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The State of Women Entrepreneurs: How Does Your Business Measure Up?

Women entrepreneurs are growing strong, according to the latest from American Express OPEN’s 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses report. The report looked at changes in women’s business ownership from 1997 to today, and found a lot to be excited about.

The number of new businesses started by women nearly doubled in the past year. Women started some 1,200 new businesses a day during the past year, up from 740 a day the previous year. Forty percent of new businesses today are being launched by women.

There are 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S.—nearly double the 5.4 million in 1997. They generate over $1.4 trillion in revenue each year, and employ over 7.8 million people.

Women aren’t just leading when it comes to startups—they’re leading in business growth, as well. In fact, in eight of the top 13 industries in the study—including real estate, wholesaling and finance—women-owned companies lead in growth.

Women of color are playing a bigger role in entrepreneurship than ever before. Although their businesses tend to be smaller than non-minority women-owned businesses (in terms of both revenues and number of employees), they’re growing in number even faster than women-owned businesses in general. In 1997, companies owned by women of color made up 17 percent of women-owned businesses, but now they account for 32 percent of women-owned firms.

But while the numbers and clout of women-owned businesses continue to grow, there’s still a way to go. Women-owned businesses employ just 6 percent of the U.S. workforce and account for slightly less than 4 percent of the nation’s business revenues. That’s not much different than in 1997.

With business startups up and running, the report concludes the next step in supporting women-owned businesses is providing assistance to going businesses to help women take them to the next level.

Looking for places to get help for your business? NAWBO, SCORE, Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) and your local SBDC are great places to get assistance for little or no cost. (Disclosure: SCORE and the LA-SBDC Network are clients of my company.)

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.