Thoughts From Female Entrepreneurs: What It Means To Be A Woman In Business

As National Entrepreneurship Month ends, we wanted to focus on a specific portion of the innovation demographic: female entrepreneurs.

While women-owned businesses in the United States are fewer, smaller, and bring in less revenue on average than male-owned companies[1], they are steadily gaining traction. An estimated 11.3M businesses are owned by women in the United States.[2] These companies employ about 9M people, bringing in $1.6T of revenue. Women make up 47% of the national workforce, control 51% of U.S. personal wealth, and are the primary source of income in 40% of U.S. households[3].

In Minnesota, female entrepreneurship is on the rise. The number of businesses majority owned by women has increased ten-fold since 1972 to 157,821 companies in 2012, employing 182,229 workers and generating $24.6B in revenue., according to research by Minnesota Business Magazine, Tech.Co, American Express OPEN research, and the Survey of Business Owners. While gaining traction, women in business still have a long way to go. A 20% pay gap still exists in the U.S. between men and women. In 2014, only 10% of U.S. startups that received Series A funding had a female founder. Currently, only 6.4% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs[4].

Rochester itself has at least one hundred female business owners operating in a wide range of industries including retail, hospitality, food, and tech. Here’s what some of these women had to say about being a woman in business.

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[2] American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report of 2016

[3] 2012 Survey of Business Owners from the U.S. Small Business Administration