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Top 100 Woman-Led Businesses Contribute
$4.8B to the Economy

women business ownerWhen it comes to starting and managing businesses, a landmark business study indicates that women are bullish and charging ahead in Massachusetts, and contributed $4.8 billion to the overall economy in 2000.

The newly released research, jointly conceived by The Center for Women's Leadership at Babson College and The Commonwealth Institute, and authored by Babson College professor Nan S. Langowitz, identifies the top 100 woman-led businesses in the state and includes data on 212 woman-led businesses and their chief executives. The research release was sponsored by Andersen, Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. and its publication was underwritten by Fidelity Investments®.

The study found a number of surprising facts and dispelled many of the commonly held notions. According to survey respondents:
Personal achievement and autonomy, rather than the "glass ceiling," were the chief motivating factors for the women entrepreneurs who started their firms.

Women chief executives tend to establish, rather than acquire, their businesses (dispelling the myth that women business owners are "wives or daughters").

Woman-led businesses anticipate strong growth, with more than one-third of the respondents anticipating growth of 25% or more over the next three years.

The analysis of "The Babson College and The Commonwealth Institute Top 100 Woman-Led Businesses in Massachusetts" found that:

  • The average Top 100 businesses reported revenues of $46.1 million in 2000 and 319 employees. (Even when the top company — Cumberland Farms — with published income of $1.6 billion, is excluded, the average reported revenue of the top woman-led firms is $31.2 million.)

  • Top 100 companies are predominantly high technology and service companies such as professional services, construction services, and travel services.

  • New economy firms — high technology and professional services — account for 43 percent of the Top 100 companies.

The top woman-led businesses in Massachusetts, based upon annual revenues for 2000, are:
1. Cumberland Farms
2. Arthur D. Little
3. Bright Horizons Family Solutions
4. Lightbridge, Inc.
5. Fitzpatrick Companies and Navisite (tied for #5)

Of the 212 women chief executives who participated in the study, 97 percent led privately-held companies with an average size of $24 million and employing 172 people, on average. Eighty-two percent of the women chief executives also had controlling ownership of their businesses.

Seventy-six percent of the companies are well-established, having been in business for over seven years. Of those companies studied in greater depth, 45 percent reported an average annual growth rate greater than 25 percent during the past three years, with 34 percent anticipating a similar growth rate over the next three years.

"The Babson College and The Commonwealth Institute study paints a very positive and dramatic picture of women's businesses," said Aileen Gorman, executive director of The Commonwealth Institute.

"These women don't need to shatter any 'glass ceiling'," said Professor Langowitz of Babson. "They are motivated by a sense of autonomy and a desire for personal achievement. These CEOs are focused on customer satisfaction as their top priority and building their companies based upon valued human talent and competitive product and service offerings."

(Source: Babson College)


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