By: Emily Klaus | Marketing Associate
(This is part of a Women in Business series)
Small businesses have played an integral role in the U.S. economy since the 17th century. In fact, small businesses now account for about half of our economy. Up until recently, these business owners have been predominantly male, but this is gradually changing. More and more women are now starting and owning small businesses thanks to new legislation, growing networks, and innovative solutions to old challenges.
Women are slowly taking up residence in the business-owning world. According to The Atlantic, the number of female-owned businesses has risen 26% since 1997, and since 2007, the “number of female owned firms has grown 68%...compared with 47% for all businesses.” So what does all this mean? The space for women in business, and specifically owning those businesses, has widened significantly in the last 20 years. However, this did not happen by female entrepreneurial spirit alone.
Many laws and regulations have been enacted to help encourage and support female business owners. The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 helped these ladies by enhancing loan provisions, adjusting small business size standards and most importantly, “reaffirmed parity...when awarding contracts that are set-aside for...businesses owned by women and service-disabled veterans.” An amendment to the Small Business Act, the Equity in Contracting for Women Act of 2000 allows federal contracting officers to allocate a certain number of contracts that can only be given to female-owned and controlled small businesses. These types of legislation are definitely contributing to the rise in female entrepreneurs as they encourage a more level playing field.
‘Women in business’ networks have helped pave the way for more female-owned businesses. According to a study published in 2015, researchers in India concluded that women who receive business training with friends were more likely to take out a business loan and have a higher household income. Finding a female business mentor can also be useful in expanding networks. The U.S. Small Business Administration, Score.org and the National Association of Women Business Owners all offer ways to connect and network with other female business professionals. The women in these networks understand each other. Connecting with other women not only for business advice, but also about the fears and challenges of being a female entrepreneur can help to combat feelings of stress and isolation. Unfortunately, women business owners are still facing daunting challenges that their male counterparts rarely experience.
It is a well-known fact that the U.S. has a gender wage gap issue. In the market as a whole, women make 83 cents for every dollar men make. This gap is exaggerated even more when looking at female business owners, who make only 25 cents for every dollar a male business owner earns. So why is that gap much more pronounced than in the overall market? One of the most common challenges female entrepreneurs face is finding the funding for their business and even if they do find it, women are “perceived as [riskier]” than men. Jet Capital values the incredible effort and energy of female entrepreneurs, and we are dedicated to helping them grow their business by offering fast, flexible funding for their small business.
Overall, the climate is great for female entrepreneurs. The more women that enter this marketplace, the more encouraging it is for other women to do the same. The growing presence of professional networks solely for women has established a community for both professional and personal support. Jet Capital is committed to seeing and helping female entrepreneurs and their businesses succeed financially. Look how much progress we’ve made in the last few decades...let’s keep going!
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