Women-owned businesses are on the rise in Ohio as well as sales. American Express’s annual State of Women-Owned Business report showed the number of women-owned businesses in the state grew 37 percent since 2007 and sales by 19 percent.
The Cleveland Metropolitan Area showed even more impressive numbers with a little more than 24,500 new businesses added since 2007 which is a 52 percent increase. Employment in that area also increased by 11 percent.
Geri Stengel, an American Express research adviser who studies women-owned business trends, attributes the success of women entrepreneurship in Ohio to a growth in diversity where the state previously lacked, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business. “There is a growing acknowledgment, especially among today’s small business initiatives, incubators and accelerators, that diversity has value and women are a key part of diversifying business leadership,” she said.
Overall the American Express report ranked Ohio as 22nd in growth of number of women-owned firms since 2007, 31st in growth of jobs created and 42nd in growth of firm revenues with a 19 percent increase.
While growth continues for women-owned businesses in Ohio and nationally, it does not come without some challenges. Access to debt financing and the ability to grow a large network are just two of the difficulties women business owners can face.
“Women, when compared to men, also tend to have ‘narrower’ personal and professional networks,” Stengel said. “They are more apt to have fewer and closer relationships, while men go wider and shallower. Thus when it comes time to launch or scale a company, men have a larger network of expertise to call upon.”
However, Stengel is still optimistic as the American Express report did show a national growth in the number of women-owned businesses that generated revenues of more than $1 million, which increased 46% since 2007.