Women’s Businesses Hit with Annual $10 Trillion Opportunity Loss

Women’s Businesses Hit with Annual $10 Trillion Opportunity Loss

Women, Business and Revenues: The State of Women-Owned Business Success in America

Newly released business census data reveals stunning growth in the number of women-owned firms and a devastating opportunity loss in revenues for women-owned firms as the sales revenues generated by women-owned firms remain low. (See USWCC press release. And see Washington DC Business Journal coverage.)

  • Women own 9.9 million representing 35.95% of all U.S. firms
  • Women-owned firms generate $1.6 trillion in revenues annually
  • Women-owned firms produce only 4.82% of all revenues from U.S. firms
  • For comparison: Male-owned firms represent 54.28% of all firms and secure 33.81% of all revenues
  • The failure of women-owned firms to produce revenues commensurate with their numbers produces annual opportunity shortfall of over $10 trillion dollars

While the preliminary results of the 2012 Survey of Business Owners by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals stunning growth in the number of women-owned firms -- finding that women now own 35.95% of all U.S. firms (an increase of 2.1 million businesses since 2007), we also learn that women-owned firms produced only $1.6 trillion in revenues representing just 4.82% of all firm revenues (up from 3.95% in 2007).

The bottom line: Women-owned firms were hit with an opportunity loss of over $10 trillion.

This opportunity loss is computed by first dividing total U.S. business revenues by the percent of firms owned by women. If women's businesses secured 35.95% of all U.S. business revenues, our annual revenues would be $12 trillion. But, as women-owned firms only generate $1.6 trillion in revenues annually, our opportunity loss / shortfall is over $10 trillion each year.

"This is a devastating opportunity loss for women business owners, their employees, families and community," states Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce. "Unfortunately, the likely spin on the new U.S. Census Bureau data will focus on the dramatic increase in the number of women-owned firms rather than the continued challenges women face in securing elevated revenues. At the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, we know first hand the tremendous growth in the number of women business owners -- but we also see the day to day struggles women face as they work to grow their firms," adds Dorfman.

"It's time for federal, state and local governments to realize how much opportunity we are all losing by not addressing the needs of women business owners. Failure to provide equitable access to capital, access to quality, mainstream business education, access to government and large corporate supplier markets, access to mentors and access to affordable healthcare and benefits are holding women back," says Dorfman. "This opportunity loss impacts every American as our economy is failing to realize the full potential of American women entrepreneurs."

Data On Women-Owned Firms

 Women-OwnedWomen-Owned PercentageOpportunity Loss for Women-Owned Firms
Total U.S. Firms9.9 Million35.95%
Total Sales Receipts$1.6 Trillion4.82%While women own 35.95% of all firms, our sales receipts are just 4.82% -- leaving an opportunity loss of $10 Trillion
Total Employer Firms1 Million19.41%
Receipts: Employer Firms$1.4 Trillion4.26%
Number of Employees9 Million7.79%
Annual Payroll$290 Billion5.55%
Non-Employer Firms8.9 Million39.99%
Receipts: Non-Employer Firms$233 Billion22.03%

Numbers of Firms and Revenues by Ethnicity

Firms owned by women of color experienced even greater challenges as they struggled when compared to white women. Black women own 15.37% of all women-owned firms (5.53% of total firms) , but generate only 2.73% of all revenues produced by women-owned firms (0.13% of total firms).

EthnicityNumber, Women-Owned FirmsNumber as a Percentage of All U.S. FirmsReceipts, Women-Owned FirmsReceipts as a Percentage of All U.S. Firms
White7,200,66826.06%$1.4 Trillion4.14%
Black of African American1,526,6995.53%$44 Billion0.13%
Asian754,8742.73%$164 Billion0.49%
Chinese208,613.76%$64 Billion.19%
Hispanic1,475,8295.34%$84 Billion.25%

Veteran-Women-Owned Firms Firms

The Census data also reveals that there are 384,549 veteran-women-owned firms in the U.S. representing 1.39% of all firms. Veteran-women-owned firms generate $20 billion in revenues.

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