Women Entrepreneurs Continue as a Driving Force
By Bansree Parikh, Bank of America Market Executive, Commercial Banking for the Inland Empire
As national Women’s Small Business Month comes to a close, now is a perfect time to commemorate and reflect upon the October 1988 passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act. Prior to the passing of this legislation, women were required to have a male relative as their co-signer on business loans.
A lot has changed in 31 years in the Inland Empire and the rest of the United States.
In 2018, there was an estimated 12.3 million women-owned businesses, accounting for 40 percent of all businesses and generating $1.8 trillion in revenue, according to the National Women’s Business Council 2018 report. In the Inland Empire, the percentage of women-owned businesses is slightly above 40 percent, according to the most recent Census data. An analysis by the UCR Center for Economic Forecasting showed the rate of growth of women-owned businesses in the Inland Empire after the recession outpaced the rest of California. Indeed, female entrepreneurs have truly become a driving force in the nation’s economy, starting new businesses at a higher rate than ever.
Women small business owners are poised to end 2019 on a high note, with 84 percent anticipating year-over-year revenue growth, according to Bank of America’s 2019 Women Business Owner Spotlight. In the Inland Empire, this optimism is buoyed by a 2.3 percent growth in jobs – the highest in Southern California – over the past year.
To better understand this thriving community of business owners, Bank of America surveys women business owners annually across the country to gain insights into their goals, aspirations and concerns.
Notably, this year’s survey found that women entrepreneurs are more confident in their revenue, hiring and expansion plans compared to their male counterparts.
- 73% plan to expand their business over the next 12 months (vs. 66% of male business owners, and up from 67% in 2018)
- 62% expect their revenue to increase in the year ahead (vs. 55% of male business owners, and up from 58% in 2018)
- 25% are planning to hire (vs. 23% of male business owners, and up from 21% in 2018)
- 52% of women entrepreneurs are confident their local economy will improve (up from 49% in 2018)
Mixed with this optimism and momentum were reflections on the challenges of establishing and financing a small business – including the extent to which gender bias may play a role. For example, more than half of women entrepreneurs say they don’t feel that they have the same access to capital as their male counterparts.
When reflecting upon positive influences on their success, more than half of women business owners identified external factors like experiencing adversity, obtaining a college degree and having a mentor have helped them achieve success. This is an especially important factor for women small business owners in the Inland Empire region, which rates as one of the lowest metros in California in educational attainment for women.
When asked for the single character trait that has had the greatest impact on their business success, women entrepreneurs identified integrity (23 percent) as the top personality attribute, closely followed by perseverance (22 percent).
Looking to the future, business owners agree that having more women in positions of influence would be the most impactful in paving the way for the next generation of women in business.
And we couldn’t agree more.
As the nation’s leading small business lender, with approximately 40 percent of the 12 million small business owners we serve being women, Bank of America recognizes just how vital the role of women is in driving economic growth.
Education, training and networks play key roles in entrepreneurial success, which is why we have formed partnerships to connect women entrepreneurs to these resources. Through the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program, we have committed more than $50 million to help female entrepreneurs grow their businesses. For the sixth consecutive year, we also partnered with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), serving as the presenting sponsor of the annual Women’s Business Conference.
We are proud to do our part by providing the capital, opportunities and tools women entrepreneurs tell us they need to help launch and grow their businesses, so that they have the power to advance their businesses and make significant contributions to our economy.
For more research findings on the 2019 Women Business Owner Spotlight, please click here.