Contributions of Women-Led Businesses

Key Contributions of Women-Led Businesses

Concentrance Consulting Group for the U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Women’s Business Council

First published November 2007

The economic impact of women business owners has long gone understated, according to a new two-part study released by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) today. Based on custom datasets from the Census Bureau’s 2002 Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons (SBO), the reports assess the economic impact of women-owned and women-led firms on the U.S. economy by examining their receipts, compensation, geography, industry, and ethnography. The 2002 SBO is the most current information available on the distribution and contribution of women-led businesses.

The Council believes that women-led firms make a substantial contribution to the American economy, but due to current definitions of women-owned firms, the omission of these enterprises from the dialogue understates the total economic impact of women business owners. Previously published data from the SBO only included information on firms that were at least 51% owned by women. For the first time, this report includes data on firms where a woman owns a percentage of the business at least equal to any other owner and where a woman or women managed day-to-day operations. According to the reports released today, there were over 1 million women-led businesses generating in excess of $300 billion in revenues in 2002, or about 3% of the U.S. GDP. These firms employed 2.5 million employees and paid nearly $56 billion in payroll. Combined, women-owned and women-led (WOWL) firms totaled over 7.5 million in 2002, employed 9.6 million people and generated nearly $1,240 billion in revenues, or about 12% of the U.S. GDP.

“Based on the inclusion of this newly-reported data on women-led businesses, it is evident that the contributions of women business owners to the U.S. economy are far greater than traditionally measured and stated,” stated Tami Longaberger, Chair of the National Women’s Business Council and Chair and CEO of The Longaberger Company. “The research and policy communities should incorporate the data on women-led businesses in the dialogue on women’s business ownership in the U.S. to more accurately capture the true economic impact of women business owners.”

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