By Andrea Sarow, Denver-area Small Business Banker with Bank of America
As we celebrate women this month, it’s an ideal time to focus on the outlook for women in small business. Denver was recently ranked as the top metro area for women looking to start a business, ranking above 49 other cities across the country. With 29% of business being woman-owned and operated and an unemployment rate of 4.2% for women, Denver is leading in economic and business mobility for women in business.
To better understand this thriving community of business owners, Bank of America surveyed more than 500 women across the country to gain insights into their aspirations and concerns, as well as similarities and differences with their male peers.
Bank of America’s 2019 Women Business Owner Spotlight found that women entrepreneurs are increasingly confident in future revenue growth (with that confidence reaching a four-year high), and 73 percent of women business owners plan to expand their business in the next 12 months. Additionally, 25 percent are planning to hire, compared to 21 percent in the fall of 2018. Women entrepreneurs are taking action, but not without facing difficulties in several areas.
This year’s report examined women’s perspectives on barriers to establishing and financing a small business – including the extent to which gender bias may play a role. More than half of women entrepreneurs say they don’t have the same access to capital as their male counterparts and approximately a third say it will take some time — about 14 years on average — to achieve equal access to capital. Nearly a quarter say they believe women will never have equal access. Business.org found that while women on average make $10,000 less a year than men in Denver, this is “one of the better pay gaps across metros in the country.”
When reflecting upon positive influences on their business, more than half of women business owners identified external factors like experiencing adversity, obtaining a college degree and having a mentor have helped them achieve success. When asked for the single character trait that has had the greatest impact on their business success, women entrepreneurs identified integrity (23 percent) as the top personality attribute, closely followed by perseverance (22 percent).
When looking to factors that could have the greatest impact on women business owners over the next five years, strong majorities of both women and men business owners believe achieving work-life balance, pay equality and equal access to capital will be important milestones to achieve at a national scale. Looking to the future, business owners agree that having more women in positions of influence would be the most impactful in paving the way for the next generation of women in business. At Bank of America, we recognize that women play a vital role in driving economic growth and we have formed partnerships to connect women entrepreneurs to mentoring, capital and other tools that will help them have the power to advance their businesses and make significant contributions to our economy.
For more research findings on the 2019 Women Business Owner Spotlight, please click here.