State of Women-Owned Businesses in 2024

By at 22 March, 2024, 9:19 am

by Barbara Weltman – 

With March being Women’s History Month, it’s a good time to explore the state of women-owned businesses and how they fit into the U.S. economy. According to the 2024 Wells Fargo Impact of Women-Owned Business Report, women-owned businesses represent 39.1% of all businesses (over 14 million) and employ 12.2 million workers. These businesses generate $2.7 trillion in revenue. As the infomercials say: but wait, there’s more. These statistics don’t tell the whole story.

Growth of Women-Owned Businesses

During the period of the pandemic and beyond, the growth of women-owned businesses has been impressive. According to statistics from the Wells Fargo report:

● From 2019 to 2023, women-owned businesses’ growth rate outpaced the rate of men’s by 94.3% for the number of firms, 252.8% for employment, and 82.0% for revenue.

● Nearly half a million women-owned businesses with revenues between $250,000 and $999,999 grew their aggregate revenues by about 30%.

● Between 2019 and 2023, Black/African American women-owned businesses saw average revenues increase 32.7% and Hispanic/Latino women-owned businesses 17.1% compared to all women-owned businesses’ 12.1% rise.

Even more impressive is the fact that women-owned businesses are now in all industries. While the businesses that women have been in until now have been primarily in 4 areas (1) services (e.g., nail care, pet care), (2) professional, scientific, and technical services (e.g., legal, bookkeeping, consulting), (3) administrative, support and waste management, and remediation services (e.g., office administration, staffing, security), and (4) healthcare and social assistance (e.g., daycare, home care providers, doctors), between 2019 and 2023, the sectors that saw the most significant growth (50%) were in finance, insurance firms, real estate, transportation, and the warehouse industry.

QuickBooks also did a recent study, adding more statistics on women-owned businesses:

● 57% used credit cards for emergency funding at least once in the last 12 months (1 in 10 did so every month in 2023).

● 83% said digital tools helped them save time, with 1 in 2 planning to adopt new digital tools for their business within the next 3 months.

● 67% used social media to grow their business, with 6 in 10 planning to invest in expanding online sales in 2024.

Resources for Women Starting or Growing a Business

There are many resources to help women start or expand a business. Personally, I’ve found in-person networking to be a great help in connecting locally. Other resources:

● 40 small-business grants for women listed by NerdWallet.

● Women in Business Grants 2024/2025 from USgrants.

● Women-owned business certification through WBENC for support and development programs and the SBA for federal contracting opportunities.

Final Thought

Unfortunately, there are still impediments to the growth of women-owned businesses. As I noted in previous blog posts, the biggest challenges to women-owned businesses today continue to be access to capital, childcare responsibilities, and, yes, a subtle societal prejudice against women entrepreneurs. One quote I love: Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of the Meta Platforms, said: “I want every little girl who’s been told she’s bossy to be told again that she has leadership skills.” Changing perception, as well as providing access to capital and solving some childcare issues, will go a long way in helping to grow women-owned businesses.

Barbara Weltman is a member of SBE Council’s advisory board, and has been a leading consultant for small businesses of every kind for over twenty years. She’s the founder of Big Ideas for Small Business® and has written numerous books on small business operations, including J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes, Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business, and The Rational Guide to Building Small Business Credit. Follow Barbara on Twitter @BigIdeas4SB.

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