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Largest Women-Owned Firms Have
Increasing Economic Power

Largest Women-Owned Firms Have Increasing Economic PowerThe expansion in the number of women-owned businesses with 100 or more employees, as well as those with $1 million or more in revenues, is outpacing the growth rate of all businesses of the same size, according to a new study from Center for Women’s Business Research (founded as the National Foundation for Women Business Owners). The study also documents that women-owned businesses are as financially robust and creditworthy as all businesses, regardless of size.

The study, “Removing the Boundaries: The Continued Progress and Achievement of Women-Owned Enterprises” takes an in-depth look at the characteristics of commercially active women-owned firms in the United States between December 1997 and December 2000, focusing on growth and financial strength.

“Women-owned businesses are exhibiting a tremendous momentum in growth and are expanding rapidly as a percent of the U.S. business economy,” said Nina McLemore, chair of Center for Women’s Business Research and president of Regent Capital.

The study found that the number of women-owned firms with 100 or more employees increased by 43.9 percent, which was 68 percent faster than all businesses breaking the “100 employee mark” during the 1997 to 2000 period. The ranks of women-owned firms with 500 or more employees are expanding even faster. The number of these firms increased by 124.3 percent over the same period, nearly triple the growth rate among all firms of this size.

Further, the number of women-owned firms with revenues of $10 million or more grew by 36.8 percent, more than three times the rate of comparably-sized firms.

The study also reaffirms that women-owned businesses are just as financially robust and creditworthy as the average U.S. firm. “This new and compelling information demonstrates women-owned firms’ continuing vitality and growth,” said John Guy, Small Business Segment executive for Wachovia. “There are no differences between the scores registered by women-owned firms and the scores of the average U.S. firm in three key measures — bill payment, financial stress and overall creditworthiness. On a five-point scale of financial stress, the vast majority of women-owned and all firms are at the low end of the scale, with 74.3 percent of women-owned and 70.6 percent of all firms under very low levels of financial stress. In addition, when assessing overall creditworthiness, 65.7 percent of women-owned firms have a low to moderate credit risk rating, compared to 62.9 percent of all firms.”

The age profile of women-owned businesses is moving toward that of all firms, although women-owned firms are still somewhat younger than the average U.S. firm. There is significant growth in the number of early stage growth women-owned firms — more than one-third (37.7 percent) of women-owned firms are from three to 11 years old, compared to 29.6 percent of all U.S. firms.

Click here for more information at the Center for Women’s Business Research website.

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