Women-owned businesses are growing at a rapid rate.
This shift is changing the corporate climate in the U.S. and generating a new influx of innovation in industries that have not been substantially changed in decades. American Express’s (NYSE:AXP) State of Women-Owned Businesses Report shows that, in the past 15 years, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 54 percent in the United States.
This post will discuss some of the challenges facing female entrepreneurs.
The Challenges Facing Women Entrepreneurs
Here’s something you should know about these growing businesses.
It Ain’t Easy
From the outset, women are not typically encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship. Additionally, companies in the US have been slow to create pro-family policies for their employees. Having kids changes the way we work, and some companies give priority and rewards to employees with less outside commitments.
According to the American Express report, women only pull in five percent of all equity capital in the US despite the fact that they own 30 percent of businesses. This equity gap not only shows the practical business obstacles women have to overcome, but also the social ones. Women have to work that much harder to gain the funds needed to get their businesses going.
“You just have to keep working through, around and over the problems. Once you do that you can overcome and succeed,” says entrepreneur Vonda White, who left her stable job in the insurance industry before launching her ventures Camp Pillsbury and Pillsbury Prep. Owning and running a company takes a lot of work, but being in the driver’s seat helped White structure her work around her life.
These challenges help female business leaders develop a level of perseverance and grit that their competitors might not have. In her book, “Success Against the Odds,” White shares the success story of another entrepreneur, Mrs. Fields.
Examples of Successful Women Entrepreneurs
There are many woman role models to be found in the entrepreneur community. Here’s two examples:
Debbie Fields struggled to get people into her cookie shop when she opened, despite having a great product. But she refused to quit and give her competitors an easy victory. Instead, she broke up her cookies into samples, went out in the community, and gave the public a chance to try her product for free.
White faced similar challenges in her most recent venture. After deciding to start a business that could help her provide a top-of-the-line summer camp experience for kids, she began researching what kind of facilities she would need to create an amazing program that children would enjoy.
Her research led her to the realization that she would need to purchase a college campus. No small task, right? But White was no stranger to taking on huge challenges. Not surprisingly, she got turned down by banks despite her proven track record of success.
As a self-made millionaire who had an immense passion for helping children, she did not let a few roadblocks get in the way. Instead she began to argue the benefit to a handful of lenders. The bank had the chance to offload a stagnant asset, she argued, and she made her case to the lenders that she had plenty of experience launching challenging ventures. Her persistence resulted in the foundation of Camp Pillsbury, one of America’s premier summer camps for kids which eventually paved the way for Pillsbury Prep, a boarding school that draws in students from across the world.
The State of Women-Owned Businesses: Growing Trend, Growing Revenue
White and her ventures are a part of a growing trend of women-owned businesses that are generating $1.3 trillion of revenue in the US and employing over 7 million people. Markets are also benefiting from the new voice of women-owned and led enterprises, and it will be truly exciting to watch female entrepreneurs make big things happen in the coming years.
Women Business Owners Photo via Shutterstock