Women now more than ever are turning to entrepreneurship to take charge of their own career trajectory. According to American Express OPEN’s 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, it is estimated that there are nearly 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating over $1.4 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.9 million people. As we celebrate Women’s Small Business Month this October, it is important to highlight the progress women business owners have made but also shed light on challenges they continue to face.
Familiar to any woman who has sought funding to start or grow her business is the difficulty of getting access to capital. According to a 2014 report by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, women account for only 16 percent of conventional small business loans and 17percent of SBA loans even though they represent 30 percent of all small companies. Of conventional small business loans, women only account for 4.4 percent of total dollar value of loans from all sources. In other words, just $1 of every $23 in conventional small business loans goes to a woman-owned business.