New Insight for Women Entrepreneurs

If you’re a woman thinking of starting your own business, you’re not alone. According to SCORE, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping small businesses, women-owned businesses currently make up 39 percent of the 28 million small businesses in the United States. And, SCORE notes, that number is rising. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned businesses rose 45 percent—five times the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. SCORE recently released the results of a wide-ranging survey of more than 12,000 female entrepreneurs. The report, “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship,” contains several key insights on the unique opportunities and challenges these business owners face.

Why did these women start their businesses?

They reported many different motivations, such as open opportunities, family considerations, job changes, and financial necessity. One interesting detail is how the reasons differed for each age demographic. Most of the women surveyed under age 34 (27.89 percent) said they started their businesses to take advantage of an opportunity they saw in the market. “I had an idea,” one millennial said, “and I decided it was the time to build it.” However, the motivation was different for most of the female entrepreneurs older than 65. Of those surveyed, 28.2 percent said they started their businesses out of necessity—layoffs, job changes, or other financial need. “I was going to be laid off from a job of 22 years with no pension,” one woman said. Family considerations also played a large part in inspiring entrepreneurship, ranking as the main motivation for most women in the 35-44 and 45-54 age brackets (23.2 percent and 25.8 percent, respectively).

What types of businesses are they starting?

Unsurprisingly, women are starting businesses in all fields. Among the entrepreneurs surveyed:
  • 1%: Health Care and Social Assistance
  • 5%: Retail Sale/Trade
  • 9%: Educational Services
  • 2%: Hospitality, Travel, Restaurant, Food Services
  • 3%: Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
  • 5%: Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing
  • 7%: Construction/Manufacturing
  • 6%: Management/IT Consulting
  • 7%: Real Estate/Rental Leasing
  • 2%: Wholesale Sales and Trades
  • 30%: other professional services.

Why did they choose these industries?

Most of the women who responded to the survey (44 percent) said they had prior experience or education in their field of entrepreneurship. Others cited “following my passion” (31 percent), seeing an opportunity (14 percent), or wanting to help others (6 percent) as the main motivation for starting their businesses. Most of the women surveyed did not seek outside financing. Only 27 percent reported seeking financing, while 73 percent said they preferred to self-finance—some because they felt they could not find outside financing. The entire SCORE report is a worthwhile read for any entrepreneur, providing a data-rich look at women-owned businesses, which employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1.6 trillion in revenues. And if you are an entrepreneur—female or male—consider adding the expertise of a team of qualified business attorneys to your portfolio. The Maryland business law attorneys at Lusk Law, LLC, are prepared to help your enterprise meet its legal challenges at every stage, from entry to exit.