Despite persistent barriers in economic equity and gender equality, women entrepreneurs are thriving post-pandemic—and they’re doing it with smaller teams and less access to resources than their male counterparts.

During the pandemic, women-owned businesses created 1.4 million jobs and generated $579.6 billion in revenue for the economy, launching more businesses than they closed, growing their workforces, and boosting profits while men’s numbers shrank.

The numbers speak for themselves, and one thing is clear: Women-owned businesses are driving economic growth, boosting revenue, and employing more people at a quicker rate than men-owned businesses.

Key Reasons Women-Owned Businesses Drive the United States Economy

The growth of women-owned businesses post-pandemic is rooted in increased support by way of investments for small businesses. Banks and community development financial institutions (CDFIs) played a key role in assisting entrepreneurs during the pandemic, with a special focus on women and minority business owners, which helped set women-owned businesses up for success.

Women entrepreneurs are also making significant economic impact because of local-level support through supplier diversity programs, women’s business centers, training, and funding or capital support.

Access Limited, But Not Denied

In 2024, almost half a million women-owned businesses with revenues between $250,000 and $999,999 grew their aggregate revenues by about 30% (Wells Fargo). But women entrepreneurs still encounter challenges, including limited access to financial resources that would help them grow at a more rapid rate. Women entrepreneurs also face limited access to capital and credit, and lack advisors and mentors willing to help guide their entrepreneurial journeys.

Still, women persevere, leaning into their resilience and resourcefulness to adapt to challenges and scale their businesses. Advances in technology (such as the rise of e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Etsy, social media marketing, and Fintech innovations) have made owning a business more attainable, enabling women to launch and scale businesses more easily and cost-effectively.

Why Partnering with Women-Owned Businesses is Good for Your Bottom Line

The 2024 Wells Fargo Impact of Women-Owned Business Report found that women-owned businesses make up over 14 million (39.1%) of all businesses in the U.S., employ 12.2 million workers, and generate $2.7 trillion in revenue. As a company, partnering with women-owned businesses is not only a sound economic strategy but a moral imperative. Working with women-owned businesses shows your commitment to working in diverse markets and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in your company and in your local communities. Supporting supplier diversity makes your business more appealing to corporations seeking second-tier sourcing suppliers that partner with women-owned businesses.

Collaborating with women-owned businesses can also help your company reach new markets and demographics, as women entrepreneurs often cater to niche markets or offer products and services tailored to specific consumer needs.

According to the Women’s Business Enterprise Council, “Women entrepreneurs are often motivated by a desire to solve problems or meet unmet needs in the marketplace.” The unique perspectives and approaches to problem-solving that women-owned businesses offer are unmatched. Working with WBEs means saying “yes” to innovation and enhancing creativity and adaptability within your company.

So, if you run a woman-owned business, consider the following tips for success:

  • Get certified

There are several reasons why women-owned businesses should get certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) or a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE). For starters, a WOSB certification grants eligibility for national and federal-level contracts. A Women’s Business (WBE) certification allows you to secure local, regional, or state-level opportunities.

Furthermore, a WBE certification ensures your business will be recognized as a preferred supplier in diversity programs which creates more opportunities for you to partner with companies in your local community. Certification also provides access to tailored and more profitable business prospects, heightened visibility within corporate and government supply chains, educational programs, networking opportunities, tax incentives, and networking and mentorship opportunities.

Both certifications are equally valid and yes, you can have both. To become certified as a Woman Business Enterprise, you can do so through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which is the most widely recognized and respected national certification for women-owned businesses in the U.S. WBENC is also an approved third-party certifier for the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program.

Keep in mind that you will have to recertify every year. Still, the time-consuming process of data collection and paperwork is worth it to give your business its greatest opportunity for success.

  • Network with other women business owners

Starting a business has its challenges but staying in business is even more ambitious. It’s important to surround yourself with not only other seasoned business owners, but women-owned business owners who understand your plight and can help you avoid some of the pitfalls they faced while building their business. You can also connect with a women’s business center in your area through the U.S. Small Business Administration to access counseling and training to further your business.

Trends For Woman-Owned Businesses in 2024

Women-owned businesses are making waves, and they’re not only here to stay but here to expand. While the food and restaurant industry has been a leading sector for women-owned businesses in recent years, women are also venturing into retail, technology, healthcare, and other niche industries, furthering the economy with their business savvy, creativity, and customer service skills.

With the right support through human, social, and financial capital, women-owned businesses could potentially generate trillions of additional revenue.

And that’s a trend worth investing in.

Originally posted on Medium.