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Interesting facts on women-owned businesses

Provided by Business Partners Ltd, South Africa's leading investor in SMEs


The US-based Center for Women's Business Research recently published some facts relating to women-owned businesses. The mission of the center is to provide data-driven knowledge to advance the economic, social and political impact of women business owners and their enterprises worldwide. The research conducted revealed the following:

In general:

Nearly 10.4 million businesses are owned by women (50% or more), employing more than 12.8 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales.

cThree quarters of all women-owned businesses are majority owned by women (51% or more), for a total of 7.7 million businesses, employing more than 7.1 million people, and generating $1.1 trillion in sales. Women-owned businesses, 50% or more owned by women, account for 41% of all privately held businesses.

Businesses owned by women of colour

Between 1997 and 2006 the number of privately held businesses, 51% or more owned by women of colour grew five times faster than all privately held businesses (120% vs. 24%). Women of colour own 42% of all firms owned by persons of colour, up from 36% in 2004. Asian women employer firms have the highest survival rate of all women-owned businesses: 77% of their businesses in operation in 1997 remained in business in 2000.

Technology and business growth

The vast majority (83%) of women business owners are personally involved in selecting and purchasing technology for their businesses. Women business owners' top concerns about technology are the protection and security of data.

Contrary to common perception, women business owners are as likely as men business owners to be willing to adopt new technology and more likely (24% vs. 18%) than women in general.

Women business owners value technology as a means to create workplace flexibility, 61% use technology to integrate the responsibilities of work and home, while 44% use technology to enable employees to work offsite or to have flexible work schedules.

Women owned businesses without employees

Seventy-five percent of all businesses do not have employees; similarly, 81% of women-owned businesses are without employees, for a total of 5.4 million businesses.

Sales revenue increased 66% for women-owned businesses without employees from 1997-2004, compared to 42% for all such businesses.

Exit strategies of women business owners

Women and men business owners are equally concerned about price when selling their business. However, women owners are more concerned about the buyers’ identity, personality, background, plans for the business and plans for current employees as opposed to men counterparts.

Women business owners are nearly twice as likely as men business owners to intend to pass the business on to a daughter or daughters.

Banking and finance

More than 67% of women business owners choose financial products and services based on their relationship and experience with the financial institution.

Women business owners who obtained capital persevered, making an average of four attempts to obtain bank loans or lines of credit and 22 attempts to obtain equity capital.

Characteristics of Women Business Owners

Women business owners are prepared to face risk, 66% are willing to take above average or substantial risks for business investments.

Women and men business owners have different management styles. Women emphasise relationship building as well as fact gathering and are more likely to consult with experts, employees, and fellow business owners.

Contributor: Center for Women's Business Research

Copyright © 2016 Business Partners Ltd.  All rights reserved.

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