Wyoming Celebrates National Women's Small Business Month
Monday, October 15, 2018
Wyoming is home to many small businesses owned and operated by women. According to the Wyoming Business Report, “Wyoming has an estimated 19,100 women-owned businesses, employing 18,100 with revenues of roughly $2.9 billion according to the eighth annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express”. This comprehensive report analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, factoring in relative changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These businesses range from small family businesses to larger corporations employing hundreds of people. Since October is National Women’s Small Business Month, this is an excellent time to celebrate the success of these female entrepreneurs.
History of Women-Owned Businesses in the United States
During westward expansion it was common for women to own businesses and take leadership roles, even if they were less formalized. However, as cultural and economic dynamics began to shift away from small family-owned businesses, women began to focus more on domestic pursuits or filling support positions. That role has drastically changed over the past fifty years.
Since 1972, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has risen 3,000 percent. It’s an impressive statistic, especially considering the fact that women were required to have a male co-signer in order to get a loan until 1988.
Women have come a long way since then. National Women’s Small Business Month is an opportune time to recognize and celebrate the impact female entrepreneurs have on our economy.
Today, women own 39 percent of small businesses in the U.S. In the last two decades, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 114 percent — a growth rate of more than two and a half times the national average.
It’s important to acknowledge this phenomenal progress while also recognizing the challenges that still exist for women in business. Research by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor indicates women in the U.S. are 18 percent less likely than men to have the confidence to start a business.
The absence of role models has been identified as a significant barrier to female entrepreneurship. There’s also evidence to indicate women may have a harder time accessing business financing and may face biases when trying to raise capital.
Raising awareness of women entrepreneurs is a key step towards improving this situation. When women hold visible business leadership roles, other women are more likely to consider entrepreneurism as an option.
WEDA understands the importance of encouraging women in business. We work with organizations that include the Wyoming Business Center, SBDC, Wyoming Women’s Business Center, and local economic development organizations to offer a range of entrepreneurial support and resources to assist women with business inception and development as well as finding avenues for financing. We encourage anyone seeking information or resources to contact us or one of our partners today.