When it comes to the emergence of the ladyboss, the numbers tell the beginning of an exciting story. The United States is home to 9,878,397 women-owned businesses, and that number is growing fast. Since 2007, 2,086,282 new women-owned businesses have opened their doors.
Here’s how that 9 million breaks down into demographics, courtesy of the National Women’s Business Council:
- 383,302 veteran women-owned businesses in the United States (an increase of 296.0% from 2007)
- 749,197 Asian women-owned businesses (43.3% more than 2007)
- 1,521,494 Black women-owned businesses (66.9% more than 2007)
- 1,469,991 Latina women-owned businesses (86.6% more than 2007)
- 24,982 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander women-owned businesses (67% more than 2007)
- 131,064 American Indian and Alaskan Native women-owned businesses (35.8 more than 2007)
In an Entrepreneur interview, Marsha Firestone, Ph. D, the founder and president of Women Presidents’ Organization, honored the growing diversity of women-owned businesses, both in their owners and their areas of expertise:
“Women are growing very substantial businesses, and not in the traditional areas that you’d expect women to be in…. Women don’t just bake cookies and make crafts. They’re starting businesses that can be scaled.”
Dr. Firestone’s 2013 list of the Top 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/led companies in North America shows just that. The top ten businesses on the list are from the food, technology, healthcare, and staffing industries.
Ladybosses in California
Of all those fantastic women-owned businesses, the highest number of firms (1.3M) are found here in California. While the majority of those businesses are health and social assistance companies, some ladybosses are breaking less common ground.
Manufacturing is one industry in which women-owned businesses struggle to catch up to male- of equally-owned businesses. Carr Manufacturing is cracking the ceiling in California, manufacturing custom cable assemblies for every industry from aerospace and the military, to transportation, to solar energy producers.
Lipstick Bail Bonds based in Anaheim, CA builds the ladyboss right into their brand. In their pink logo-ed Hummers, former LAPD officers Teresa and Lisa Golt have led their team of bail agents since 2003.
Robin Richter, co-founder and president of Wearable Imaging, wears her ladyboss-ness with pride. Since 1992, Wearbale Imaging has been selling promotional materials and strategies to businesses who want to boost their brands.
Room for Improvement
While the growth statistics are encouraging, the number of ladyboss firms that employ people is creeping up slowly. According to the National Women’s Business Council, while women-owned businesses employed 8,431,614 in 2012 (962,203 in California), but 89.5% of them were sole proprietorships without employees.
Why? One answer is funding. Most women are approved for half as much capital as men when they’re starting out, making it hard to hire. Later this week, we’ll be posting resources that make it their mission to help remedy this situation.
As this issue improves, women-owned businesses hold unlimited promise. Besides, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top ladyboss industry, health and social assistance, is also one of the top non-agricultural industries for employing people.
Let’s go, ladybosses!
Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg