2018-10-21 / Editorial

Women-owned small businesses celebrate in October

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, a perfect time to highlight the many accomplishments of women entrepreneurs and small business owners in Lapeer County and across Michigan and the nation.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), today women own more than 35 percent of all businesses and are starting new ventures at four times the rate of men. The most recent data indicates there are more than 12 million women-owned businesses employing 9 million Americans and generating $1.6 trillion in receipts.

In our communities here in Lapeer County, women own restaurants, beauty, flower and antique shops, real estate offices, personal workout centers to financial consulting businesses, industrial metal fabricating companies to auto repair shops. From quaint shops on Main Street to large fabrication buildings in industrial parks, women hold a diverse array of businesses across Lapeer County. Whether it’s the Lapeer Development Corporation to local Chambers of Commerce, to local Downtown Development Corporation offices to directors of local foundations women hold important leadership positions in our community as well.

October is a time to celebrate the growth and accomplishments of female entrepreneurs and the vital role they play in our economy. We are fortunate in Lapeer County enough to witness the innovative and inspiring contributions female entrepreneurs are making to the business world and economy every single day. Our goal today and this month (and beyond) is to shine a spotlight on those businesses and business owners.

According to the latest American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses report, the growth of women owned businesses continues at a rapid pace. Four out of 10 business in the U.S. are now owned by women, and the total number of women-owned businesses has increased by 58 percent since 2007. In fact, in the last year, 1,821 new women-owned business opened each day.

Over the past 46 years, women of all ages have become business owners in droves — from baby boomers and Gen Xers to millennials and younger generations. The number of women-owned businesses increased a dramatic 31 times between 1972 and 2018, rising from 402,000 (4.6 percent of all firms) in 1972 to 12.3 million (40 percent of all firms) in 2018. Revenues rose from $8.1 billion (representing 0.3 percent of all firms revenue) in 1972 to $1.8 trillion (4.3 percent of total firms revenue) in 2018 — a breathtaking multiple of 217.

The American Express report said the three industries in which women-owned businesses have the highest total employment are healthcare and social assistance (20 percent), accommodations and food services (16 percent) and administrative, support and waste management services (13 percent). The growth rate in the number of women-owned firms between 2007 and 2018 increased the most for these five industries: utilities (151 percent), other services (126 percent), construction (94 percent), accommodations and food services (85 percent) and administrative, support and waste management services (70 percent).

According to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, of the states with the fastest growth rate in terms of women-owned firms between 2007 and 2018 Michigan is No. 3 — trailing only Florida and Georgia. Tennessee and South Carolina are tied for fourth. Metro Detroit was No. 7 in the Top 10 metropolitan areas where women-owned small businesses increased their economic clout from 2007 to 2018.

Michigan data from the report indicated that almost half or 48 percent of women business owners are between 45 and 65 years old, with 67 percent over 45 years of age. Women between 25 to 44 years made up the second largest group at 31 percent.

In Michigan, an organization that works on behalf of women’s business interests in Lapeer County and across the state is the Women’s Business Center. These centers, part of the Small Business Administration, can help women start, finance, and grow their small business. The closest office to Lapeer County is in Livonia. For more information, visit www.greatlakeswbc.org or call 734-677- 1400.

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