Friday, October 28, 2022
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Across Ocean State, from Woonsocket to Westerly, female small business owners are celebrating something truly special this month.
October is National Women’s Small Business Month. It’s important to reflect not only on the success of women-owned small businesses today, but on the progress we’ve made over the years.
Over the last 40 years, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States has exploded, from just 5% of all businesses to more than 42%, approaching parity with men.
In pure numbers, 40 years ago there were about 400,000 women-owned businesses nationwide. There are now over 13 million businesses, most of them small businesses, with nearly $2 trillion in revenue. Here in Rhode Island, where I am founder and president of the Donahue Group of Cranston, women-owned small businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs, expanding economic opportunity, and making our communities better. I am strong.
But despite our growing numbers and growing economic impact on the communities in which we live and work, the sustained success of women-owned SMEs is far greater than that of men’s SMEs. remain much more vulnerable.
We are more likely than men to struggle to retain employees, meet revenue targets, and compete with large corporations.
Of course, the reasons why this gender gap persists are complex and often affect women entrepreneurs differently. Working mothers still carry much of the responsibility of caring for their families, and the pandemic has stretched us and our already tenuous network of parenting options to breaking point.
We cannot sustain our business if our community lacks affordable, quality childcare options for both women entrepreneurs and the working mothers they employ. It is a national dilemma that deserves a national response. But there are other areas where concrete steps can be taken immediately to help women entrepreneurs succeed.
A recent Goldman Sachs survey of small business owners across the country found that half of female small business owners face significant challenges in finding and retaining employees, while 44% were men. Women are also more likely than men to say they are being held back by having to compete for workers with larger companies that can offer more generous retirement and health insurance benefits.
Before we start, let’s reduce the obstacles that are holding us back. For example, the high binding requirements and the cost of time and money to prepare a large number of responses to federal requests for proposals.
As I mentioned at the beginning, we’ve come a long way since the days when women needed the co-signature of their male relatives for business loans. (Fact-check: You’re right.) But it’s a powerful, measurable, and wise statement that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of America’s female small business owners and reflects the realities of what it takes to succeed in modern society. Support women small business owners by taking action. an evolving economy.