Facts on Women-owned Employer Businesses

There were roughly 12 million women-owned businesses in 2017.* According to the 2019 Annual Business Survey, women employer businesses numbered 1.1 million, employed 10.1 million workers, and accumulated $1.8 trillion in receipts. Women-owned firms make up 20% of all employer firms. Women remain underrepresented in every demographic group. Most women-owned firms are small. 90% of all women-owned businesses have no employees.* Over half of women employers have 1-4 employees.

Wealth Equity & Employee Ownership

Drawing on recent research, this issue brief – co-authored by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, and the Democracy at Work Institute – makes a case for why policymakers, funders, and investors who care about racial and gender wealth equity should support employee share ownership. Informed by a roundtable discussion which brought together researchers, philanthropic leaders, investors, policy experts, and advocates, the paper provides a set of concrete policy and practice ideas to expand employee ownership and advance equity and economic justice. We hope this paper contributes to a broader collaborative effort to spread employee share ownership policies and practices that support economic recovery and lay the foundation for a more equitable and resilient economy.

Women Business Ownership 2017-2018

Women-owned firms made up only 19.9% of all firms that employed people in the United States in 2018 but their numbers are growing.

There were 6,861 more women-owned firms in 2018 than in 2017, up 0.6% to 1.1 million, according to the Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey (ABS).

NWBC Roundtable Report

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) released its 2020 #LetsTalkBusiness Roundtable Series Report, a collection of testimonials from women entrepreneurs on current challenges and opportunities associated with access to capital, childcare, and patenting and trademark.

COVID’s Effect on Female-Owned Small Businesses

Women-owned small businesses have been more heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic than male-owned small businesses, and they are less likely to anticipate a strong recovery in the year ahead, new data show. The Special Report on Women-Owned Small Businesses During COVID-19  from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also found that women-owned small businesses have less optimistic revenue, investment and hiring plans compared to male-owned small businesses.

2018 Annual Business Survey

The U.S. Census Bureau released new estimates showing 1.1 million employer firms were owned by women and 1.0 million by minorities. According to the 2018 Annual Business Survey (ABS), covering year 2017, 5.6% (322,076) of all U.S. businesses were Hispanic-owned and 6.1% (351,237) were owned by veterans.

NWBC 2019 Annual Report

As this year’s report findings and policy recommendations demonstrate, we have made significant strides in advancing a new generation of women entrepreneurs. However, much work still lies ahead. In 2020, we will build on the efforts of this past year, with a laser focus on our three main policy priorities—Access to Capital and Opportunity, Women in STEM, and Rural Women’s Entrepreneurship. As a Council, we remain dedicated to furthering our mission.

Female Founding Gaps in Agri-FoodTech

Agri-FoodTech is an emerging category within the food startup universe with enormous potential to impact critical issues from climate change to food insecurity. More and more venture capital is being invested in the sector, but it’s not reaching one of the leading groups of entrepreneurs—female founders.

Building Women’s Wealth Through Business Ownership

This report explores ways business ownership can serve as a wealth-building tool for women, explains the systemic barriers impeding women’s ability to build wealth through business ownership, and suggests ways grant makers, policy advocates, and practitioners can intentionally promote wealth-building by entrepreneurial women through business ownership.

Women-Owned Employer Businesses

In March 2019, the Office of Advocacy published a fact sheet titled “Small Business Facts: Spotlight on Women-Owned Employer Businesses”, written by Nora Esposito, Economic Research Fellow. This fact sheet highlights contributions made by 1.1 million women-owned employer businesses to the U.S. economy, as well as areas for future growth. The fact sheet also provides information on industrial and geographic diversity of women-owned employer businesses. Read the fact sheet to learn more.