Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Reasons to Celebrate Woman-Owned Small Business — Especially in Manufacturing

Though the glass ceiling remains overhead, as evidenced by pay disparity between genders and the percentage of female CEOs out there, women in business have made tremendous strides. Their hard work is paying off, particularly in the traditionally male-dominated world of manufacturing.

With CEO Pamela Kan at the helm, Bishop-Wisecarver Group is proud to be a certified woman-owned small business. As such, we're thrilled to celebrate other women in small business this October for National Women's Small Business Month. In honor of the occasion, we culled together several reasons to invest in woman-owned small business:

1. More women are starting small businesses. The latest U.S. Census Bureau stats show that there were 7.6 million woman-owned firms in 2007 — 90 percent of them small businesses. Between 1997 and 2007, female-run firms grew at double the speed of their male-owned counterparts, according to a 2010 report by the Economics and Statistics Administration.
2. That means women are creating jobs. For a picture illustrates the impact of women in the small business sector, take a look at this interactive graph on the White House website. Over the past 27 months, the American workforce has added 4.3 million jobs, and women, the White House says, are leading the way. According to Forbes, women will create more than half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs by 2018. That's remarkable. We wonder, how many of those jobs will be in manufacturing?

3. Women in charge change long-entrenched gender dynamics in the world of manufacturing. Picture an old manufacturing company. What comes to mind? Gears, gadgets, mechanical parts and a guy in charge, right? That's an image that various industry groups are trying to change by encouraging more women to get involved in the industry. Unfortunately, women lost more manufacturing jobs than they gained between 2010 and this year, according to a recent Forbes report. Forbes credits some of the loss to perception. Because people generally have an outdated idea of what manufacturing is, they shy away from it. As a woman-led manufacturer, we continually do our part to promote STEM education to young women and support women currently in a manufacturing role by networking and doing business with them.

4. Small businesses owned by women are more likely to get SBA-certified loans. Women have the opportunity to apply for loans inaccessible to others, not just through the Small Business Administration, but through other government entities as well. Bishop-Wisecarver Group is certified woman-owned through the Women's Business Enterprise Council (WBENC), which trains companies like ours on how to apply for opportunities in government contracting reserved for woman- and minority-owned businesses.

5. Woman-owned business generates enormous revenue, spur economic growth. American Express in March estimated that woman-owned businesses in the United States employ 7.8 million people and generate $1.3 trillion in revenue. That's incredible, and incredibly encouraging when you realize that since 1997 woman-owned businesses have increased by 59 percent.