Women Entrepreneurs in Small Business

While there has been an across the board decline in U.S. small-business lending (see recent posts), it’s important to breakdown the different components of that decline, especially when thinking about economic recovery. For instance, a recent study by the Center for Women’s Business Research suggests that the number of women-owned small businesses is on the rise.

The report says that women small business owners will create over half the jobs in the small business sector from now until 2018.  According to the report, part of women entrepreneur’s success comes from a more holistic managerial approach. Yet, the report also asserts that despite their successes, women have a more difficult time obtaining financing.

ACCION Chicago’s loan make-up reflects this disproportionate outcome.  Historically, 50% or more of ACCION’s loans have gone to women, compared to 28% of firms owned by women nationally. However, ACCION does not specifically advertise to women. Having faced barriers to financing, women often have less assets or less developed credit, and therefore have trouble establishing their worthiness as a borrower. As a result, more women have ended up working with alternative lenders like ACCION Chicago.

Other organizations also exist in Chicago to help women’s small businesses. The Women’s Business Development Center offers business services to local entrepreneurs.  Their goal is to support the growth of women-owned businesses by providing business training, financial counseling, and advocating on behalf of Chicago’s women entrepreneurs.

The SBA reports that %99.7 of all American firms are small businesses (less than 500 employees). Considering the growing share of women, investing in women-owned small businesses seems to be a good way to spur economic growth and the development of local communities.