Educated, Older Women Flock to Entrepreneurship

The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy today released a study that examines why women are emerging as a fast-growing sector of new small business owners.

The study, Human Capital and Women's Business Ownership, which focused on women who were self-employed and held only one job, found that self-employed women have more education and increased their educational attainment at a faster rate compared to other working women. The percentage of self-employed women in managerial occupations exceeded the rate for other working women, and self-employed women worked in different industries than other working women.

The study also showed that self-employed minorities were slightly more likely than self-employed whites to have a college degree throughout much of the study period of 1994 to 2006. Data show that the self-employed were likely to be either in the lowest or highest income brackets. Additionally, high percentages of the self-employed were in their 40s or 50s.

Business Research Advisers of Arlington, Va., conducted the study.

Separately, Babson College's Global Entrepreneurship Monitor project is releasing a study in June focusing on women entrepreneurs in the United States. Survey researcher and professor Elaine Allen gave me some highlights of the study, which culls data from women who are entrepreneurs, but may hold another non-entrepreneurial job. From the upcoming study:

*Entrepreneurial women in the United States tend to be younger than entrepreneurs in other high-income countries. They also are more likely to be in consumer-oriented and business services than women entrepreneurs in other high-income countries.

*More U.S. women entrepreneurs work other jobs. Globally, about 22 percent of women entrepreneurs hold more than one job, but in the United States, it's about 50 percent.

*Eighty percent of women starting a business in the United States said it's because they saw an opportunity compared to about 66 percent of women in other high-income countries.

*U.S. women entrepreneurs are more likely to own their own home. "In the U.S., the picture is not of necessity entrepreneurship. It's the land of opportunity," said Allen. She defines "necessity entrepreneurs" as those who start businesses because they are not able to find sufficient income elsewhere.

The center is releasing a report on global women entrepreneurs on Friday.

By Sharon McLoone |  April 28, 2008; 1:36 PM ET Data Points
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The growing number of studies of women business owners is interesting. In the mid-'90s, the National Association of Women Business Owners created a research arm (first called National Foundation of Women Business Owners, later changed to Center for Women's Business Research) to develop data on women business ownership. I recall one of the leaders saying that "what gets measured, gets attention."
Jan Norman

Posted by: Jan Norman | April 30, 2008 10:24 AM

I am delighted to see you feature the latest GEM report on women entrepreneurs worldwide.

As the report states:

"Women are creating and running businesses around the world, contributing to economies that represent more than 70% of the world's population and 93% of global GDP (2007). Women's entrepreneurship is a key contributor to economic growth ..."

It's high time we are getting the recognition and respect we so richly deserve.

Many thanks,
Laurel Delaney

Posted by: Laurel Delaney, Chicago, IL | May 5, 2008 1:53 PM

The secret is out! Women have figured out how to greatly improve their own work conditions, in a previously male dominated environment, AND produce excellent incomes, AND contribute great values to the world. All at the same time!

Women are doing a great job starting and running successful businesses. But, these new women business owners wised up! They create the businesses to be successful the WAY they want to be successful, and they ignore all of the traditional myths of success. This way they have their cake, their icing, days off, a great family life, AND they get paid for it. This is especially true for mothers, who have proved to have much greater successes as business owners than most others.

We have been assisting mothers and women business owners to create their own lives on their terms for over 7 years.

These studies do not reveal the spectacular truths about these successful women business owners. But these studies are a start.

Bill Dueease

Posted by: Bill Dueease | May 5, 2008 7:35 PM

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