Women-owned businesses outpacing most in job, revenue growth: Amex report


Submitted by American Express

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Women-owned firms continue to grow in number and economic stature. They are standing toe-to-toe with competitors in a broad range of industries, including construction and transportation, where women-owned firms are just as likely as all firms in those sectors to generate more than $500,000  in annual revenue. The growth in the number (up 54 percent), employment (up 9 percent) and revenues (up 58 percent) of women-owned firms over the past 15 years exceeds the growth rates of all but the largest, publicly-traded firms. As of 2012, it is estimated that 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, according to the second annual “State of Women-Owned Businesses Report,”  commissioned by American Express OPEN.

The report includes detailed analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, offering updated estimates of the number of women-owned firms nationally and in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. It compares the growth rates of women-owned businesses over two different time periods: 1997 to 2002 and 2007 to 2012. New to the 2012 report is analysis of the top 25 metropolitan areas and major industry groups. Among the most notable findings:

  • Between 1997 and 2012, when the number of businesses in the United States increased by 37 percent, the number of women-owned firms increased by 54 percent, a rate 1.5 times the national average. The number of women-owned companies has risen by 200,000 within the past year, equivalent to just under 550 new women-owned firms per day;
  • Women-owned firms are just as likely as all firms to generate in excess of half a million dollars in revenues annually in two industries: construction, where 13 percent of women-owned firms and 11 percent of all construction firms are pulling in more than $500,000 per year; and in transportation and warehousing, where 6 percent of each are generating $500,000 or more in revenues;
  • Women-owned firms are exceeding overall sector growth rates in seven of the 13 most populous (largest by number of businesses) industries: wholesale trade; finance and insurance; other services; real estate; health care and social assistance; construction and arts/entertainment/recreation;
  • Looking at the growth in the number of women-owned firms, comparing the 1997-2002 and 2007-2012 time periods, reveals that one of the biggest challenges for any small business is growing beyond the $250,000 to $499,999 revenue mark and at the 5 to 9 employee size class. Statistics show this revenue mark to be a particularly difficult hurdle for women-owned enterprises and as a result they perform below national averages.
  • In that same analysis, women-owned firms in the 2007-2012 period show stronger relative growth than do women-owned firms in the earlier period at the very highest revenue category “ $1,000,000 and above.

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.

Geographic Trends

The states with the fastest growth in the number of women-owned firms during the past 15 years: Georgia with a growth rate of 95 percent, Nevada (92 percent),  North Carolina (83 percent); Mississippi (75 percent); and Texas (75 percent).

The states with the lowest growth in the number of women-owned firms between 1997 and 2012 are:  Alaska (11 percent), Iowa (21 percent), West Virginia (22 percent),  Kansas (25 percent) and Ohio (25 percent).

The metropolitan areas with the highest combined economic clout, taking into consideration the growth in number of firms, revenue and employment, are: Washington, D.C.; San Antonio, Texas; Houston, Texas;  Baltimore; Riverside, Calif., and Sacramento, Calif.

The full report, commissioned by American Express OPEN and based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, is  available at:  www.openforum.com/womensbusinessreport.

About American Express OPEN

American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States and supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more atwww.americanexpress.com  and connect with us on  www.facebook.com/americanexpress,  www.twitter.com/americanexpress  and  www.youtube.com/americanexpress.