October is recognized as National Women’s Small Business Month, an ideal time to continue the dialogue on the contributions of women-owned businesses and consider what our community can do to further empower this unique group of entrepreneurs.
Statistics from the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) demonstrate a diverse landscape of women-owned businesses. More than half of the companies owned by African Americans are led by women and the number of businesses owned by Asian American women has increased to more than 40 percent. Hispanic American women are making the largest gains and increasing women-owned businesses by more than 87 percent, a significant contrast to the 39 percent increase seen by their counter parts of Hispanic men-owned businesses.
Florida is at the forefront of this unprecedented growth of female entrepreneurs, ranking fourth in the nation for having nearly 600,000 women-owned businesses. Florida also boasts the third highest number of veteran women-owned businesses.
Despite these gains, there are still challenges that limit the growth of these enterprises. Women-owned businesses receive only four percent of venture capital and five percent of government contracts, which makes it difficult to meet market demands and prevents funding for necessities like equipment, employees, or inventory.
Women-owned businesses contribute to our community and create jobs. We must continue to invest in small business creation and retention to grow our economy. While we celebrate October as National Women’s Small Business Month, supporting our female entrepreneurs should be a focus throughout the entire year.