March is National Women’s History Month, shedding light on the impact women have on this country. Women’s roles in business have slowly changed over the years from support positions to leadership and executive positions, even ownership. A short sixty years ago, it was mostly unheard of for a woman to work outside the home, and even more rare to hear of a woman owning her own business.
I have been a businesswoman for most of my childrearing years. It wasn’t always easy, but fulfilling professional goals and utilizing skill sets not recognized at home made me a better mother and spouse when engaging with my family and fulfilling personal obligations. During times I was a stay-at-home mom, free time was filled with starting little businesses to support my hobbies or my children’s interests. There was a certain intuition I learned to appreciate as integral to my make-up. At the time, I wasn’t trying to build a big business. I just wanted to put my creativity and innovation to work in the most efficient manner possible. Intuition plays a large role in finding niches, filling holes, bringing creative ideas to market, or entering into an entrepreneurial venture: all areas women seem to thrive in.
Today, the entrepreneurial spirit that most creative and dedicated women embody is recognized and celebrated as a growing percentage of business ownership in this country.
The National Women’s Business Council released a new report in early March painting an impressive picture of women-owned businesses.
• Women-owned companies make up 36 percent of U.S. businesses.
• Between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned businesses, in the U.S. increased at a rate of 2 1/2 times the national average.
• Employment in women-owned businesses grew at a rate of 4 1/2 times all businesses coming in at more than 8 million people.
• Every hour in the U.S. there are 47 businesses started by women.
• Women-owned businesses pull down annual revenues exceeding $1.4 trillion.
Outstanding statistics in women-owned businesses may result from the gender gap that persists in corporate America. While women make up 45 percent of the S&P 500 labor force, only 24 (5 percent) have made it into the ranks of CEO. Fortune 500 companies have held steadily at 14.3 percent of the women executive officers and the national average for women on executive boards has hovered at just under 17 percent for the past ten years. There has been marked progress, but it is significantly slower than women branching out and starting their own businesses. These statistics help us celebrate strides for women in business leadership and also emphasize areas that still need work.
Spokane recently ranked 8th out of 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas considered Best for Women Owned Business. To help women advance their goals of entrepreneurship, WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis comparing the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas across 10 key metrics. Spokane floated to the top of the list based on their findings.
Catalyst is excited to feature the 2016 Women in Business Leadership Awards in the city that has ranked in the top ten for women in business. Join us in honoring these notable women who not only excel in business, but give back to the community.
With business thriving in our area, partners are eventually required to help “make” the dream a reality. The “Makers Gallery” highlights a few companies that help businesses achieve their facility dreams, along with improving the long-term outlook of our region. Take a peek in the gallery for some insight into projects our local companies are proud of.
As usual, I hope you enjoy this issue and invite input and feedback. Catalyst is your regional business and innovation magazine.