This month, we have been celebrating and honoring Women’s History Month with one clear theme: Support Women Owned. I encourage you to check out our campaign, including the new and improved Women Owned website and recently launched blog series, Women Who Own It. We look forward to carrying on the momentum in supporting Women Owned businesses throughout March and well beyond!
As we reflect on the impact women have had in business and the economy over the years, and the work we still have to do, it is worth reviewing the 2017 State of Women Owned Business Report by American Express released earlier this year. There are some amazing figures that prove that women are, indeed, owning it:
- As of January 2017, there were an estimated 11.6 million Women Owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 9 million people and generating $1.7 trillion in revenues.
- Over the past 20 years, the number of Women Owned businesses has grown 114 percent compared to the overall national growth rate of 44 percent for all businesses.
- The employment growth rate over the past 20 years was stronger for Women Owned businesses than for all businesses: 27 percent vs. 13 percent.
And yet, the report also shows that Women Owned businesses account for just 4.2 percent of overall business revenues and 8 percent of total private sector employment. If our share of revenues and employment were closer to our share of businesses (39 percent), Women Owned businesses could have a much bigger impact on the economy.
That is why this year’s theme for Women’s History Month is so appropriate: Nevertheless, She Persisted.
Despite setbacks, difficulties or challenges, we have and will keep persisting in promoting diversity and equality in the world of commerce, with the knowledge that the more Women Owned businesses grow, the more it will help our economy overall.
We know WBEs know a thing or two about persistence, as well. Just take it from the WBE Stars, who shared with us their advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Their inspiring words of wisdom also contained similar themes of perseverance, passion, resiliency and fearlessness – qualities that have served those 14 exemplary women business leaders well throughout their careers. We look forward to honoring them next week at the WBENC Summit & Salute in Dallas!
Speaking of Summit & Salute, you won’t want to miss our incredible keynote speaker Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African American female combat pilot. She’ll be sharing her experiences and insights on “Gutsy Leadership,” and how to use courage, power, and grit (another word for persistence!) to achieve your goals.
We are so excited to see everyone next week in Dallas to connect, learn, network and celebrate some incredible WBEs and Corporate Members. Make sure you download the mobile app for the latest schedule and updates.
See you there! And until then, keep on persisting.
WBENC President & CEO