Women Business Owners Hold Their Own During Great Recession, Outperform in Some Cases

How did women-owned businesses fare during the recent recession?

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) has released data suggesting that in spite of the challenging economic conditions of 2007-2010, many women-owned businesses performed as well as or better than those owned by men. NWBC is a non-partisan federal government council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women entrepreneurs.

Anie Borja, executive director of NWBC, noted analysis of the data revealed several key factors contributed to which women-owned businesses fared the best. NWBC has released an infographic that summarizes and analyzes the results and will be releasing additional infographics and analysis in the coming months.

Among the factors common to the businesses performing better overall:

Annual revenues of more than $100,000 is critical. The findings show that across all race and ethnicity groups, businesses earning less than $100,00 were more likely to fail than those earning higher annual revenues

• Four most common types of expansion capital are personal/family savings, business loans from banks, business profits, and personal or business credit cards.  Both men- and women-owned businesses that used business loans or profits to fund expansion during the recession performed better than businesses using credit cards or personal savings.

Higher levels of education do not appear to improve success in business for women.   Overall, slightly fewer women-owned businesses had a bachelor’s degree than men-owned businesses.  In many industries, fewer than 5 to 6 percent of business owners have a degree. Yet among the industries in which owners have the highest levels of education, the industries dominated by women-owned businesses rank in the top three (health care and social assistance; professional, scientific, and technical services; and educational services), with more than 80 percent of owners having at least a bachelor’s degree. However, despite the higher levels of education, women-owned firms do not have the same outcomes in higher revenue as men-owned firms across almost every industry.

Women business owners are slightly younger, and the self-employed are younger than employers.  Women business owners tend to be younger than male business owners, or the owners of firms that are equally owned by women.  The owners of self-employed businesses also tend to be younger than the owners of employer firms, where fewer than 10 percent of owners are under the age of 35.


About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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