Female entrepreneurs are considered an underserved part of the financial community. Why? Although we all know there is a gender wage gap, there is also a gender revenue gap between male and female business owners.
Growth with fewer resources
According to the recently published 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express, over the past 20 years, the number of women-owned businesses has grown 114 percent compared to the overall national growth rate of 44 percent for all businesses.
That is a growth rate of more than 2.5 times the national average. Women-owned businesses now account for 39 percent of all U.S. firms, employ 8 percent of the total private sector workforce and contribute 4.2 percent of total business revenues. Yet, only 10 percent of women entrepreneurs have the capital they need in order to grow their business, according to a 2015 report, MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2017.
Programs for everyone
Caring and concerned, two women business owners decided to do something about this discrepancy. In 2012, Mary McCarthy and Caroline Worley founded the nonprofit, Women’s Small Business Accelerator. It’s the first of its kind, focusing on helping all women business owners, regardless of net worth or education level, achieve their business ownership dreams through empathy, mentoring and education.
The WSBA has developed programs to support women entrepreneurs within three stages of business growth, the:
- Idea stage.
- Early stage.
- Growth stage.
These programs are designed to help women business owners build and enhance their skills and passion to become successful entrepreneurial women. The WSBA provides education, peer support, mentoring and accountability to help women begin and grow their businesses.
Currently, there are three programs for women business owners available through the WSBA. The signature program is The Inspired Entrepreneur. During this intensive 20-week program, business owners are challenged to examine the validity of their business concept, study their competition, create business plans and prepare themselves for success.
Power Circles are facilitated peer roundtables that meet monthly to discuss business issues, share experiences and help each other with business challenges.
The Mentor Match Program is designed to match entrepreneurs with more experienced business owners and professionals over a six-month period, to work on and achieve specific business goals.
The impact and success of the WSBA has continued to grow due to the efforts of our executive director, volunteers, mentors and program participants. As we grow we can continue to serve more women in Central Ohio build successful businesses.
For information about any of the WSBA programs or volunteering, contact Executive Director Erika Gable at [email protected]
Cindi Englefield is the board chair of the Women’s Small Business Accelerator. Cindi is also the owner of Englefield Business Advisors LLC, a firm that provides practical business advice, which helps maximize profits for small businesses