Discover more in the Women in Business series

Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs: The Magnitude of the Movement

The results of OPEN's women in business study shows the significance of women-owned businesses is on the economy.
July 24, 2012

This article is part of “Celebrating Women Business Owners,” a four-week series highlighting the achievements of women business owners.

Consider the positive economic impact that women-owned businesses are having on the country. The estimated 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States employ 7.7 million people. That’s an impressive number.

This week, as we share more results from American Express OPEN’s study The State of Women-Owned Businesses, we’d like to give a special nod to those companies in certain regions who have achieved outstanding growth. We’re taking a look at the “magnitude of the movement” in these regions. Women are having a seismic impact on our economy, creating jobs and driving innovation. It’s important for women to mentor and share ideas with each other, and also offer insight into overcoming business challenges; this is the recipe for success. That’s why this space and this dialogue are so important. We want to keep the focus on the progress these small businesses are making, so we can all continue to support businesses run by women.

Here's how you can be a part of this important conversation:

  • Re-post any of these infographics (click anywhere on the images below and then right click to save it to your computer)

  • Forward this article to a friend or colleague (you can use the OPEN Forum e-mail share tool at the top or bottom of this page)

  • Leave a comment below to share with us what this information means to you


Location, Location, Location

The states in which women-owned business have enjoyed the most growth and where they have the most economic clout are the District of Columbia, Nevada and Wyoming. These states are in a three-way tie for first place, with Arizona and North Dakota rounding out the top five. In these states, women-owned firms have increased at a rate well above the national average.

Our nation’s capital is really booming for women running their own operations. Washington, DC metropolitan has the strongest, most robust growth numbers and economic contributions for women. Other cities in which women are thriving: San Antonio and Houston which are second and third and despite being in states experiencing financial troubles. Baltimore; Riverside, Calif.; and Sacramento are hot—as defined by the greatest combined growth in the number of firms, revenue and employment—for women-owned businesses.

Industry Success

Baby boomers are reaching or entering retirement, and living longer, which is increasing healthcare services needs. Women entrepreneurs have filled the gap, providing new services to an aging population. They have entered the healthcare and social-assistance arena and are flourishing. In fact, 53 percent of firms in this sector are women-owned. Education is another hot sector; women own 45 percent of educational firms, which is quite impressive considering that on a national scale, an average 29 percent of firms are owned by women. Education, healthcare and social assistance, along with arts, entertainment and recreation, are seeing tremendous growth as sectors.

Join the Conversation

Share and/or comment on Twitter, Facebook or your own blog about how you are #PoweringTomorrow in your community and within your business (Hint: Use this hash tag #PoweringTomorrow so we can all be on the same page!) As a start, complete the following sentence:

“I am #PoweringTomorrow by ____________.”

This is your space and your conversation. We want it to be thought-provoking and useful, and ultimately help you push through the challenges of the entrepreneurial journey.

Please leave a comment below regarding the magnitude of the movement. And stay tuned for more on women-owned businesses in the coming weeks.

View the infographic in our kick-off article, "Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs' Business, Goals and Journey."

See more on Women-Owned Businesses: Fueling the Future highlighting women business owners Laura Fitton and Sandra Yancey.

Allison Silver is the vice president of brand, advertising and advocacy for American Express OPEN, a role in which her responsibilities include oversight of “OPEN Women’s Business Initiative" and “Victory in Procurement,” as well as other programs designed to advance OPEN’s mission of helping small business do more business.