Small businesses that are owned by women continually succeed in revenue and earnings generated, but still struggle to grow at the same rate as their male-owned counterparts. The presence of the gender gap in small businesses is felt, as it much harder for women entrepreneurs to gain the necessary capital to expand their businesses.
As the number of women-owned small businesses continues to grow in the United States, the gender gap in small business finance still prevails. Women-owned small businesses now account for approximately 9.4 million companies and generate more than $1.5 trillion in revenue nationwide. Although it took two decades to accomplish, the U.S. government finally reached its goal set in 1994 by contributing 5% its contracting dollars to women-owned businesses; small businesses owned by a women majority now receive $17.8 billion in federal contracting dollars. This increase in federal contracting dollars is good news for women entrepreneurs, but it still only represents 25.75% of the $90.7 billion earned by small businesses in 2015.
According to a study of 35,000 small businesses, average annual revenues of women-owned small businesses increased by 11%, and average earnings increased by about 6.5% from 2014 to 2015. However, small businesses owned by men generated about 60% more revenue, and average earnings were about 61% higher. Women entrepreneurs also lag in credit scores, loan approval ratings, and other factors that can determine access to capital. Lower credit scores are particularly challenging for women-owned small businesses seeking capital. Loans are available to owners with lower credit scores, but interest rates will likely be much higher.
The disparity between men and women small business owners, however, is improving. More and more women are choosing to start their own companies, with a significant increase in minority representation. Lower interest rates right now make for a great economy to start a small business, and a wide range of women are choosing to take this opportunity and run with it. This progress is, in part, thanks to SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and other women-oriented non-profits. The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership has created a network of more than 100 Women’s Business Centers to bring women entrepreneurs together to help close the gender gap.
More than 25% of companies are owned or led by women, and those businesses employ more than 7.8 million Americans. That said, difficulty in accessing capital can stall these businesses from achieving their full potential for growth. With lower average credit scores, revenue, and earnings, women-owned small businesses have disproportionate difficulty in accessing funding in comparison to their male counterparts.
Capital advances, however, offer a funding opportunity for female business owners who do not qualify for traditional loans or are seeking to diversify their funding mix. Through a straightforward repayment process and with a trusted partner like Wellen, women in business that are seeking to expand their business can gain the necessary capital to do so.