New OPEN Report Says Women-Owned Businesses Growing at Highest Pace Since the Recession

Earlier today, American Express OPEN released the Sixth Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report and the results are proof of the women-owned business community’s ability to power through adversity.  Some highlights of the report, which is based on historical and current U.S. Census Bureau data and Gross Domestic Product data, are:

  • Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms rose by 42% with women starting 1,072 (net) new businesses per day.
  • Women-owned firms now number 11.3 million, employ nearly 9 million people and are generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue.
  • Over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate five times faster than the national average, reaching a post-recession high
  • Number of Firms Owned by Women of Color More Than Doubled Over Past Nine Years

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“We are pleased to see the continued rise of the vital role that women-owned businesses play in our country’s post-recession recovery,” said Susan Sobbott, president of American Express Global Commercial Payments. “We are inspired by these women who are continuing to pursue their entrepreneurial passions, and are strengthening our communities and economy even further.”

“Every day, 1,000+ women choose the path of entrepreneurship.  This report captures the optimism of our members who contribute mightily to the economy by starting and building their businesses—especially women of color,” said Ann Sullivan, Chief Advocate for Women Impacting Public Policy.

 

Industry trends

As we emerge from the recession, women are turning to traditional industries such as lifestyle and services companies. Between 2007 and 2016, the following four industries had the biggest increase in women-owned firms:

  • other services (e.g. home care to hair and nail salons and pet care businesses), up 98%;
  • administrative, support and waste management services (including janitorial and landscaping businesses as well as office administrative support and travel agencies), up 64%;
  • accommodation and food services, up 62%;
  • and construction, up 56%.

 

View the full 2016 State of Women-Owned Business Report, here.

The report was prepared for American Express OPEN by Womenable, a research, program and policy development consultancy, who is also a valued WIPP Coalition Partner.

ChallengeHER Recognized in Budget Proposal

CH-LogoBudgets are usually just about the numbers, but, every so often, they take respite from tables, spreadsheets, and account balances to acknowledge successful partnerships. Anyone taking a look at the President’s budget, released on February 9, found out who is working on behalf of women business owners when the Small Business Administration (SBA) highlighted the success of WIPP’s ChallengeHER initiative at bringing women-owned businesses into the federal marketplace. Having SBA acknowledge WIPP’s efforts demonstrates just how strong WIPP advocates have been.

Securing a contract with the federal government can double the revenue for a women-owned business and the ChallengeHER program has been providing education to women business owners on how to do just that. In 2013, WIPP partnered with American Express OPEN and SBA to offer events, workshops with access to an online curriculum, and mentoring opportunities that provide women entrepreneurs with knowledge and connections to help them successfully compete for federal contracts.

This year, WIPP is planning 18 ChallengeHER events across the country. For more information and to find the ChallengeHER event closest to you, please visit WIPP’s ChallengeHER site.

From the Hill: Contractors Face Additional Reporting Burdens

By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

hillFederal contractors will now face a bevy of additional reporting requirements when seeking procurement opportunities. The House Small Business Committee held a hearing Tuesday to exam the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulations. These new rules are expected to be finalized late this year or early next year and require federal contractors to document and report labor law and safety violations for their firm and all subcontractors when bidding for contracts above $500,000.

WIPP supports efforts to rid the contracting environment of businesses with a history of abusive and neglectful violations, but these new rules will be particularly burdensome for small contractors. The House Committee hearing focused on the increased administrative burden that small contractors will face and how opportunities for small and women-owned businesses to enter the federal contracting arena will be affected.

WIPP addressed many of these issues in its official comment, submitted earlier this summer. The hearing highlighted the likelihood that contractors may be “blacklisted” from contracting opportunities, a concern that WIPP expressed. The regulations require all violations to be reported, even infractions that have yet to be adjudicated. The contractor is not afforded the opportunity for explanation until the contract is likely to be awarded. The danger is that a contracting officer will simply pass over or “blacklist” a potential contractor rather than dig deeper into nature and validity of the reported infraction. This could leave many upstanding small and women-owned firms with unproven or minor violations unable to secure contracting opportunities.

The hearing also stressed the duplicative nature of these regulations. Several witnesses noted how suspension and debarment procedures already exist. In its comments, WIPP recommended incorporating safe workplaces into the well-established system of suspension and debarment as an alternative to creating this enormous reporting burden.

These reporting requirements will impose significant costs for small and women-owned firms. Not only will it require the business to submit excessive documentation, it will also require significant resources to research, gather, and report the necessary information for the small business and all of its potential subcontractors.

Far from leveling the playing field for the millions of businesses playing already by the rules, these regulations will add to the tremendous burden facing small and women-owned businesses.