Women-owned firms on the rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — Increasingly, the business of American women is business.
Some 18.5 percent of employer businesses that were started between 1991 and 1994 are owned by women, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday.
That’s up from 12 percent of companies in existence by 1980.
The businesses owned by women are smaller than businesses in general, with 78.5 percent of them having between one and nine employees. For all businesses, 68.2 percent fall into that size category, the bureau said.
But the women are just as eager to expand as male business owners.
Some 30.4 percent of the female-owned firms said they planned to increase their work force in the next five years.
In addition, 28.6 percent expect to add new products; 20 percent intend to increase the hours their employees work; 7.7 percent plan to increase the number of locations; 6.4 percent expect to expand government contracting; and 4.2 percent intend to expand into international markets.
These plans mirror similar percentages for all firms and for male-owned firms in the survey.
The newly released figures were collected in the 1994 Survey of Businesses by Gender of Ownership. Other findings included:
ù Of the roughly 4.8 million employer businesses in the United States, 15.9 percent are owned by women. Women shared ownership of an additional 18.7 percent of businesses with men.
ù The survey showed no statistically significant difference between male and female business owners in their access to credit. Only 12.8 percent of female-owned firms said their ability to operate or expand had been hampered by credit difficulty. The percentage for all firms was 12 percent; for male-owned firms, 11.5 percent.
ù Sources of credit for female-owned businesses also were similar to those for all firms. To finance planned expansion, 65.5 percent of the female-owned firms planned to reinvest profits, 39 percent planned to invest their own assets, 37 percent to obtain bank loans and 26 percent to use supplier credit. Other credit sources mentioned were business credit cards (18.5 percent) and government-guaranteed loans (11.9 percent).