Women across the country mean business. In Arizona alone, there are an estimated 140,100 women-owned businesses, employing hundreds of thousands and creating a boost in both the state’s and nation’s economies.
According to American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Business, a detailed report analyzing December 2010-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the numbers of women-owned firms are on the rise.
“The way I see it, the numbers can only go up from here,” said Deborah Sweeney, a small business expert and CEO of MyCorporation. “Working women in this current recession understand the industry in ways that weren’t looked at before.”
Sweeney says more and more women are becoming entrepreneurs. These women understand consumer needs and with the aid of social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, these businesses are capable of getting their names and brands out to countless numbers of people, driving their companies further and their profits higher. And, in turn, contributing $22.2 billion to the economy.
“Women know what is needed, what other people are looking for in the market, and they know how to connect to that group,” said Sweeney. “Female business owners can create their own schedules and work from home, a great benefit for mothers, and while they’re working from home, they’re actively connecting throughout the city, state, and country with their business.”
Georgine Nielson, president of Aspen Properties in Pinetop, has owned several businesses. She enjoys being self-employed and the freedom that allows her. But, she says there are many challenges to being a female business owner as well.
“The hardest challenge is trust. Some people trust only men in business, so you have to work harder to have better, more accurate and up-to-date information so that you are ahead of the game and, therefore, earn their trust and prove your credibility.”
Nationwide, the number of women-owned companies has increased 50 percent since 1997. Arizona ranks eleventh in growth of number of firms and seventh in growth of firm revenue.
These statistics do not surprise Alice Ferris, who is a partner at GoalBusters, a consulting firm in Flagstaff.
“I don’t think that this information is something new – I think it speaks to the urge professional women have to schedule flexibility, a creative outlet, and control over achieving their personal goals,” said Ferris.
Marnie Uhl, president and CEO of the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce, agrees, saying that women are “seeing the opportunity for entrepreneurship and owning their own businesses. Through grants and small business opportunities, they are able to received financial support to get started.”
Uhl says she believes Arizona has always encouraged and supported women’s advancement and points to her own career as an example. “We [Arizona] have had and still have strong women leaders who are role models and mentors, both in business and in government.” FBN