National Women's Business Council Releases Provocative Piece On Economic Impact Of Women-Led Businesses

Aug 20, 2013, 17:49 ET from National Women's Business Council

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Women's Business Council released a new infographic Tuesday illustrating the significant economic clout of women-led businesses. 

While many use the term 'women-owned' to quantify women's economic activities due to federal procurement standards, NWBC argues women-led is a more accurate measure.  Emily K. Bruno, Research and Policy Director for NWBC noted, "Successful women-led businesses have a variety of trajectories and strategies for growth, and there is no one right way to grow a business.  We've seen that in many cases, successful women entrepreneurs running high-growth companies have chosen to give up equity in order to raise capital.  While women-led businesses are less than 51% owned by women, women still have a significant leadership position and ownership within the company, and this matters."

Important highlights from the infographic include:

  • Women have a greater economic impact than most think- 36% of employer firms are either women-owned or women-led. 17.5% of employer businesses are 51% owned by one or more women.  Yet, 18.8% of employer firms are at least 30% owned by women and have a woman in a leadership role.  When those two numbers are added together, women's economic impact is much clearer.  That makes 36% of employer firms that are either women-owned or women-led.  When not focusing on women's leadership role within a company, the numbers look even better.  42.4% of businesses are at least 30% owned by women.  These firms capture 26.1% or $2.6 trillion in receipts.  
  • Successful women-led businesses have a variety of trajectories and strategies for growth.  There is no one right way to grow. NWBC shows that firms with more owners make more money.  Additionally, women and men-owned firms that have owners of the other gender perform better when looking at median receipts than firms owned just by men or women.  Despite this, women do not take on partners as much as men do; 89% of firms entirely owned by women have just one owner.
  • A broader definition of women in business better captures their true economic impact.  There are a growing number of women who have founded and grown multi-million and even billion dollar businesses. More often than not, these women have partnered with investors and no longer own 51% of their company. The success and economic impact of these women is discounted when we focus on 51% ownership.

The infographic is the second in a series that NWBC is producing utilizing its original research and new data sources from the Census Bureau.  NWBC launched the infographic during its public Council meeting in San Francisco, CA on August 14.  The meeting was open to the public and included guest speakers on women in technology and access to capital from a variety of organizations, including Astia, Women 2.0, Kiva, Hummer Winblad Venture Capitals, and BranchOut.  The infographic was well received by speakers, who noted that the term 'women-led' better captures the kinds of businesses they work with closely in the high-growth, technology spaces, where partnering with investors is essential for growth.  The discussions were moderated by NWBC's newly appointed Chair, Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, and newly appointed Council member Shelly Kapoor Collins, CEO of Enscient Corporation. 

The full infographic is available at

The National Women's Business Council (NWBC) is a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. The Council is the government's only independent voice for women entrepreneurs. Members are prominent women business owners and leaders of women's business organizations.  NWBC is composed of 15 members who are appointed to three-year terms.

Contact: Taylor Barnes, (202) 205-6827,
Twitter: @NWBC

SOURCE National Women's Business Council