Commentary: Women-owned businesses are succeeding in US economy

Women entrepreneurs make up a growing share of U.S. small business owners. The American Express 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses report, which makes its projections based on data from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners, estimates that they own 12.3 million companies in the U.S. — compare that to 1972 when there were only 402,000 women-owned businesses. Today, women employ more than 9.2 million people and generate $1.7 trillion in revenue. Last year, 1,821 women-owned businesses were launched every day.

During Women’s History Month in March, the U.S. Small Business Administration salutes women entrepreneurs who take risks to pursue their passions and to whom setbacks are just steps to success. This month, we honor their spirit and determination, and every day we help them on their journeys. All small business owners need a helping hand once in a while, whether it’s advice, funding or encouragement from someone who has been there.

Michelle Christian

The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership empowers female entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support, as well as business training, access to capital, and marketing opportunities. Our network of 114 Women’s Business Centers provides training, coaching and mentoring to entrepreneurs in communities around the country. In Fiscal Year 2017, WBCs supported more than 150,000 women, resulting in tremendous revenue and job growth for the businesses they serve.

The SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development tracks the federal government’s goal to award 5 percent of its contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses. We train entrepreneurs to evaluate their readiness for contracting, register as a contractor, navigate federal rules, and qualify through small business set-asides. A total of $20.8 billion in prime government contracts were awarded to women-owned small businesses in 2017 alone — supporting more than 115,000 jobs.

One of those woman-owned small businesses is Delaware’s Hook Enterprises. Patricia launched three businesses to amplify her voice as a change agent — Hook Translations, providing traditional translation services for corporate, non-profit, and government; Hook PR & Marketing, offering messaging expertise to the multicultural audiences across multiple platforms; and, most recently, Marketing Ella, which helps women build more effective brands and websites.

In 2017, Patricia’s business growth plans took shape when she joined WeThink, a SCORE/SBA Small Business Development Center think-tank-style business-building class designed to help Delaware’s female entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Thanks to her participation in WeThink, she added much needed infrastructure and administrative support and focused on sales and scaling, yielding tangible results with her firms seeing a 54 percent increase in the number of projects they were able to take on.

I am proud to be part of all that SBA does to promote women entrepreneurs like Patricia. It is my goal to ensure women remain a vital part of our nation’s economic success. Kick off your small business success with a visit to www.sba.gov.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Michelle Christian was appointed by the White House on Feb. 20, 2018 to serve as U.S. Small Business Administration Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator.

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