With 40 percent of the nation’s businesses owned by women, representing 16 percent of jobs in the U.S., these firms have a major impact our economy – approximately $3 trillion. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, these firms grew at twice the rate of other segments between 1997 and 2002, and have continued to keep pace. And I can only see continued growth in their contribution, especially as many women are starting “side businesses” to bring in extra income during the recession. Still, they can face more obstacles to success – including access to capital and markets and managing work-life integration – than many of their male counterparts.
From the women business owners I’ve spoken to, I’ve heard that one critical key to overcoming such obstacles has been getting information and support from other business owners. That’s why I’m proud to announce that we’re partnering with organizations like Count Me In, Women Impacting Public Policy, SCORE, eWomenNetwork, National Association for Women Business Owners, Women President’s Organization, and Women’s Leadership Exchange to produce the American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit, a national conference designed to provide the information and networking opportunities can help you grow your businesses.
I invite you to join us February 17-18, 2010, in Houston as we discuss “The New Rules of Business for Women Entrepreneurs”. With so much of the business landscape – from financing to marketing – undergoing dramatic changes, there are new rules for managing and growing your businesses, and we’re bringing together experts and women business owners who have survived an even thrived from these changes to share their stories and advice. The multi-tracked conference program will combine strategic discussions and training to explore such topics as:
- Gaining access to capital
- Moving from recession to recovery
- Leveraging social media
- Building a sustainable business
- And more...
We’ll also explore private and government-contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses. The U.S. awards approximately $500 billion in annual contracts, and 5 percent of those contracts are required to go to women-owned businesses. Given the broad range of government purchases, from architectural and engineering services to office supplies, is there an opportunity for your business to benefit?
At the American Express OPEN Women’s Business Summit, you can also have the chance to apply to Make Mine a $Million Business, as well as receive one-on-one small business counseling during a SCORE Speed Coaching event. My hope is that by bringing these experts and experienced business owners together to discuss these opportunities with you, we can continue to increase the economic contribution of women-owned firms and, through them, grow the economy.
You can find more information about the conference, including and up-to-date program, online here. And, if you have a “New Rules of Business” story that you want to share for possible inclusion in a future article, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also learn more about our partners by visiting their websites: Count Me In, Women Impacting Public Policy, SCORE, National Association for Women Business Owners, Women President’s Organization, and Women’s Leadership Exchange.