New York State has added a whopping number of women-owned businesses since 1997. Census data analyzed by American Express OPEN, the small-business-based branch of the company, shows that there are an estimated 674,200 firms owned by women in the state, up 71.1 percent in the last 15 years. The New York metro area has the largest concentration of these women-owned businesses, and it experienced a 31.2 percent jump in the same timeframe.
American Express’ report shows an increase from last year’s number of women-owned businesses in the state, also. There were 622,300 female-helmed operations in New Yorkin 2011, and with 674,200 this year, that signifies an 8.3 percent increase in just one year. Young women, especially, have vocalized a frustration with the employment opportunities available nationwide, and many are finding themselves going down the route of entrepreneurship in an attempt to turn the tides of employment and success in their favor. The health care industry seems to be where a large portion of these women are focusing their energies; of these women-owned businesses 52.9 percent were in the health care sector, education had a 45.2 percent portion and retail had a 34 percent share.
Susan Lindner, of the public relations firm Emerging Media, points to intrinsic differences that women-run businesses offer when discussing this trend. There are a whole pool of women who have opted out of the traditional business-world to start – and raise – families; these women have business experience under their belts, and are often a great resource for new companies that wish to utilize their skills in a new light, and under more flexible circumstances. Freelance and part-time positions are bringing women back to women-owned firms in NY and the rest of the nation.
Nationwide, the figures on the growth of women-owned businesses are also large. The 8.3 million women-owned operations in the U.S. are up 54 percent since 1997, but women are in high-level positions in only 18 percent of Fortune 100 companies and 15.7 percent of Fortune 500 firms.
While some of the women-owned businesses came about due to inheritance or acquisitions, it is safe to say that the climate has warmed extensively toward encouraging and supporting female-based startups and entrepreneurships. Minorities and women at the beginning stages of business development have New York City’s Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) which offers $22 million in funding assistance via the New York City Entrepreneurial Fund for tech companies and the Artists as Entrepreneurs program, as well.
Women-helmed startups have access to programs such as these, but many say that a lot of the assistance stops there. There is a national buzz for nurturing startups that was begun by the current presidential administration; city-based programs such as the aforementioned in NYC are helpful when a fledgling newborn of a company is trying to find the capital to get started, but Maria Ortero, founder of the Women’s Venture Fund, says that many women-owned companies have a hard time finding the support to grow once they are already established. American Express’ data assessment supports Ortero’s assertion, and shows that for women-owned businesses generating between $250,000 and $499,999 and having between 5 and 9 employees there are a great deal of difficulties in transitioning to the next level, and obtaining capital once the business is at this stage of development can be challenging for women unable to assert their company’s needs as well as their male counterparts.
Author: Stacia Argoudelis
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Tags: health care industry, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), small business, start ups, women-owned businesses