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New OPEN Study Reports Growth of Women-Owned Businesses for 2012

A recent report sheds light on how women-owned businesses are doing in the U.S.
March 21, 2012

As of 2012, it is estimated that there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing nearly 7.7 million people, according to the second annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN. The growth in the number (up 54 percent), employment (up 9 percent) and revenues (up 58 percent) of women-owned firms over the past 15 years exceeds the growth rates of all but the largest, publicly-traded firms.

Great news for women-owned businesses right? To a point. While it’s true that women-owned firms continue to grow in number and economic stature, OPEN president Susan Sobbott notes, “Even as women-owned firms continue to grow in number at rates exceeding the national average, enterprises at the $250,000 to $499,999 revenue mark are at a turning point in their development. In order to further advance and grow these businesses, new management tools must be implemented.”

Still, women-owned businesses should celebrate their toe-to-toe standing with competitors in a broad range of industries, including construction and transportation, where they are just as likely as all firms in those sectors to generate more than half a million dollars in annual revenue. 

Read the full report for:

  • A detailed analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, offering updated estimates of the number of women-owned firms nationally and in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

  • A comparison of growth rates of women-owned businesses over two different time periods: 1997 to 2002 and 2007 to 2012.

  • An analysis of the top 25 metropolitan areas for women-owned businesses.

  • An analysis of the major industry groups in which women-owned firms are exceeding overall sector growth.
  • An analysis of women-owned firms versus the national average based on amount of revenues and size.

Similar to the 2011 American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, the most compelling insights come not from an accounting of the most up-to-date numbers of women-owned firms, but in the analysis of the issue of growth. In 1997, 2.5 percent of women-owned firms had 10 or more employees, and 1.8 percent had $1 million or more in revenues. As of 2012, 1.8 percent of women-owned firms have 10 or more employees and $1 million or more in revenues. This may indicate that, as women-owned firms grow larger, they may be “disappearing” from the ranks of majority woman-owned as they gain additional owners or equity stakeholders.

View the 2012 State of Women-Owned Business Report Summary
View the complete 2012 State of Women-Owned Business Report
View the complete 2011 State of Women-Owned Business Report