2017 State of Women-Owned Business Report

Cover of the 2017 State of Women-Owned Business ReportAmerican Express releases the Seventh Annual State of Women-Owned Business Report

The American Express OPEN study has been published, and once again, the numbers are eye-opening. This year’s report finds that women-owned businesses have grown at a rate of 114% since 1997, 2.5 times faster than the national growth rate of 44% for all businesses.

During the same 20-year period, the number of firms owned by women of color has grown by 467%. For the past 20 years, women of color have turned to entrepreneurship at astonishing rates, with minorities accounting for 46% of all women-owned businesses in 2017.

Women. Mean. Business.

In terms of jobs, the employment growth rate for women-owned businesses was 27%, again more than double the average of the national employment growth rate of 13%.

In the past year, women-owned firms have been growing fastest within these three industries:

  • Construction, with 15% growth
  • Arts, entertainment & recreation at 12%
  • Other services also at 12%

Half of all women-owned businesses can be found within three industries:

  1. Other services (including hair and nail salons, pet care businesses) make up 23% of all women owned firms (2.8 million)
  2. Heath care and social assistance (including child day care and home health care services) make up 15% of all women-owned firms (1.8 million)
  3. Professional/scientific/technical services (including lawyers, accountants, architects, PR firms and consultants) constitute 12% of all women owned firms (1.5 Million)

But not all the numbers are not so rosy. Since 2016, revenues for women-owned business have increased just 2.5% compared to 4.1% for all businesses.

Industries with the highest average revenue per business tend to attract the fewest female entrepreneurs:

  • Average revenue for a wholesale trade companies is $1.78 million, but only 1.4% of firms in that industry are owned by women
  • Women owners constitute only 1.2% of manufacturing companies, 0.2% of mining firms, and just 0.02% of management consulting firms.

Numbers like these are why support systems like NAWBO and training centers like Pathway WBC have been charged with improving business outcomes for female entrepreneurs.

If women-owned businesses’ share of employment (8%) and revenue (4.2%) were similar to their share of firms (39%), they could make a much greater impact on the economy.”

Female business owners are proving to be a major driving force in the American economy, and we’re here to make sure they have all the tools to succeed.

Dig into the details of the 2017 Annual State of Women-Owned Business Report right here.