Encouraging competition is good government; programs that encourage women-owned businesses to compete expands the federal government’s pool of qualified companies. Women own more than 39% of all businesses in the U.S., employ 8% of the total private sector workforce, and contribute 4.2% of total business revenues. WOSBs comprise up 21% of SAM registrants.
The growth in the number of women-owned firms has far outpaced their revenue and employment growth. (See Footnote 7) In a 20-year span from 1997 to 2017, the number of women-owned firms grew from 26% to 39%, exceeding the increase of other sub-categories (such as minority owned, HUB Zone, etc.). The same study shows that among women-owned firms, the growth in number of employees and revenue is lacking – employment only grew by 1% (from 7% to 8%) and revenue declined from 4.4% to 4.2%.
In 2017, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship published a report. Ranking Member Senator Jeanne Shaheen summarized the challenges faced by women business owners in an introductory letter.
“…women-owned businesses still grow at a slower rate and earn less revenue than male-owned firms. In fact, women entrepreneurs face persistent institutional barriers that make achieving financial parity a serious challenge with lasting consequences.” (See Footnote 8).