How successful women entrepreneurs can pay it forward, balance the scales, and drive the economy.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are roughly 9.9 million women-owned firms in the United States, representing over a third of all firms in the country—and the ranks of new enterprises with women at the helm are growing rapidly. Between 2007 and 2012, women-owned firms in our country grew by 27 percent compared to a growth rate of 2 percent for firms overall. But in spite of their impressive growth in numbers, the business ventures women are launching today continue to lag behind those launched by men in terms of revenues and employment. So while an increasing number of women can count themselves as entrepreneurs, many appear to be running into barriers, as the vast majority of their businesses remain quite small.
What’s holding women back? What’s capping their businesses?
What’s holding women back? What’s capping their businesses? A crucial pitfall is that women face unique challenges in their attempts to acquire financial capital. Growth-oriented firms typically require substantial investment—both in the form of bank loans and external equity in the form of angel or venture capital funding—to scale up. Meanwhile, a number of studies reveal that women entrepreneurs raise significantly smaller amounts of capital than men and face continued barriers in their attempts to secure external equity in particular.