Over the past few decades, there has been a skyrocketing increase in the number of women in business groups. This is backed by a report released by American Express, which shows that the number of women-owned businesses saw a dramatic increase, from 402,000 in 1972 to 12.3 million in 2018. It also shows that 40 percent of the businesses in the US today are brainchildren of empowered women economic leaders. And, these businesses collectively employ millions of people, successfully generating more than a trillion dollars worth of revenue.
However, while these figures show sizable improvements, women-owned businesses still only take a small percentage of the entire private business sector, contributing a small proportion of this sector’s revenue. And, the revenue disparity between all businesses and women-owned businesses has significantly increased over the years.
Fortunately, advocates of women empowerment are lobbying side by side our lady entrepreneurs to call for more support and better access to capital and opportunities. With this proactive movement, women-owned businesses are poised to go beyond the critical revenue threshold and contribute significantly to the global economy.
Primary obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs
One main struggle of some women in business groups is that they start small, remain small, and rarely get the chance to expand. As a result, they bring in less revenue compared to men-owned enterprises.
Aside from that, some women-owned businesses don’t have enough workforce or just don’t have the resources to hire more people. Some of these businesses are solely run by the owner themselves. One of the reasons is that these businesses receive fewer contracts or benefits from the government than other businesses do.
Moreover, other women-owned companies are driven by local sales. In the venture capital and high-growth industries, they are significantly underrepresented. This partly explains why they only receive a small portion of total venture capital funds.
For these reasons, many women in business are looking into personal credit or personal savings to keep their businesses afloat.
Why we should support women owned businesses
We need to support women in business because it means we’re investing in their economic empowerment. This also means that we’re upholding gender equality in the corporate world. All of these can help forge a more sustainable overall economic growth, as well as achieve more equality amongst anyone who owns a business, regardless of gender.
By supporting women entrepreneurs, we also show that we believe in a just and equitable future where women have similar growth potential and business opportunities as men. The future calls for a marketplace that’s as diverse as the population it serves.
How to spot women-owned brands
Now, there’s a growing movement among business owners that aims to label the products of a women-owned business with the words “certified women-owned”. This makes it easier for us when supporting women in business. Much like the purpose of labeling products as organic, sustainable, and other consumer-conscious labels, we are able to proactively buy products from businesses that make the world a better place or support a more fair and equal economic system.
Coolhaus, a US-based company that has celebrated International Women’s Day with a new coffee treat, is one of the first women-owned businesses that signed up for this advocacy. Their organic ice cream made of natural ingredients are all labeled with such words. According to the co-founder of Coolhaus, Natasha Case, this advocacy has resonated and connected well with their shoppers.
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council partnered with WeConnect International to raise awareness for how, why, and where to buy women-owned products. They are working hand-in-hand to put up women-owned labels on every storefront and website that sells these products. They are also continuously building their network of women in business groups, with a goal to:
- Link customers to their services and products
- Meet their specific needs
- Serve as a platform for socially-conscious supporters, shoppers, and advocates of the economic empowerment of women.
Other companies are also doing their share of raising awareness about women empowerment and everything else that makes the world even better. All the movements and efforts done by these organizations are helping women in business to be recognized in a male-dominated economy.
Women leaders and entrepreneurs deserve all the help and support they can get from advocates and the community. As the number of young women in business grow, we can show the world that everyone has a part to play in building our economy, and women are just as good business leaders as men are.