State Differences in Women-Owned Business Performance

Explaining State-Level Differences in WomenOwned Business Performance

StratEdge for the National Women’s Business Council

First published March 2006

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) released a new study, Explaining State-Level Differences in Women-Owned Business Performance, which indicates that the success of women-owned businesses is impacted by particular state-level factors, such as the availability of technology infrastructure and an educated workforce. Using the U.S. Census Bureau’s special tabulations of 1997-2001 data on women-owned businesses’ (WOB) performance, the research is one of the first attempts to evaluate systematically the influence of factors that underlie state differences in WOB performance.

According to the Census data, the performance of WOBs varies significantly across the country, from a high survival rate of 74% in New York and Connecticut to a low of 60% in Tennessee. This new study indicates these state-level discrepancies can be partially explained by differences in the woman business owner’s education level, the size of the business, and a state’s “knowledge economy level,” which this research describes as the combined effect of venture capital dollars invested per business, educational level of workforce, and degree of broadband penetration across a state.

“Creating an environment in which women-owned businesses can thrive should be a priority in every state and community nationwide,” said NWBC Executive Director Margaret Barton. “This research indicates the importance of providing women entrepreneurs access to education, mentoring, financial and technological resources.”


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