According to the National Women’s Business Council, women-owned enterprises now account for more than $2.8 trillion in annual economic impact in the United States. Until recently, concrete figures on the impact of female entrepreneurs had not been collected – we now understand they are a major contributor to the nation’s $18 trillion total GDP.
Put another way, the economic impact of businesses owned by women exceeds the gross state product of California, the largest state economy. In 2014, over 9 million companies were owned by women in privately-held or majority-owned settings. No matter how you look at it, women-owned businesses are thriving and driving positive change.
Women’s Leadership Matters for Businesses of All Sizes
Women are more active as entrepreneurs than ever before, but the benefit of female leadership isn’t limited to brands owned by women. More and more research shows that companies with women in executive roles tend to be more profitable – by as much as 15% compared to firms whose leadership skews more male.
Although female CEOs don’t necessarily outperform male CEOs, the presence of women on corporate boards – within the C-suite – showed significant correlation to better bottom-line performance. That said, women represented only 14% of the 144,000 executives tracked in the study. There’s still plenty of women for room to grow in business!
Entrepreneurial Women are Changing the World
Successful female entrepreneurs benefit their communities and help to uplift other women from all walks of life who may be interested in launching a business, but who might not feel they can overcome the challenges of achieving their dream.
The plain truth is, there are still hurdles out there for women:
- Only 20% of angel investors and 6% of VC partners are women
- Only 5% of Fortune 500 companies have a woman as their CEO.
- Executives substantially overestimate how many women CEOs there are.
Women who manage to find a foothold in entrepreneurship often bring big ideas to life – in many cases, by recognizing and honoring the female perspective among their customers. Jessica Alba’s Honest Company achieved $1.7 billion in valuation partially by focusing on women’s unmet needs and recognizing the changing demographics of women in America.
Despite the challenges that still exist, women are launching ventures or achieving executive careers in established firms at record levels. The more visible their accomplishments, the more young women will be inspired to follow in their footsteps in the coming years. More women are entering MBA programs and furthering their education.
Progress is coming faster than ever, and today’s female entrepreneurs have done great things – for women, the economy, and society as a whole.