A new report commissioned by American Express has shown the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 3,000% since 1972 and by 58% since 2007, with 1,821 new companies founded by women everyday in America between 2017 and 2018

Women in business

The number of women-owned businesses in the US has increased by more than 3,000% over almost half a century – from 402,000 in 1972 to 12.3 million in 2018 – according to analysis commissioned by American Express.

Over this period, the total number of employees at these companies grew 40-fold from 230,000 to 9.2 million, while their collective revenue rose from $8.1bn (£6.3bn) to $1.8tn (£1.4tn) – 217-times greater.

The State of Women-Owned Businesses report also showed there were 1,821 new women-founded start-ups every day between 2017 and 2018, up from 1,143 between 2012 and 2017, and 714 during 2002 to 2007.

Julie Tomich, senior vice president of global commercial services at American Express, said: “This new data demonstrates not only the remarkable impact women entrepreneurs have on our economy when it comes to creating jobs and generating revenue, but also the growing role of women-owned businesses in our communities.

“Over the past 11 years, we’ve seen women’s entrepreneurship and economic impact increase – especially among the growing number of women-owned companies that generate more than $1m (£780,000) in revenue.”


Breaking down the surge in women-owned businesses

The amount of women-owned businesses with revenues exceeding $1m (£780,000) rose by 46% over the past 11 years, compared with 12% for all US businesses combined, representing a disproportionately fast growing segment.

While these high-profit companies represent just 1.7% of the US firms owned by women, they account for 68% of their employees and 69% of their combined revenue.

women-owned businesses

The ratio of women-owned businesses to total businesses in the US has increased dramatically, from 29% in 2007 to 40% this year.

However, the same cannot be said for their proportion of total US employment and business revenue, which has only risen from 6% to 8% and 4% to 4.3%, respectively.

According to the report, the top three US states with the fastest growth rates for the number of firms owned by women are Florida, Georgia and Michigan.


Number of companies owned by BAME women up 163%

While the number of women-owned businesses grew 58% from 2007 to 2018, companies owned by women in minority groups multiplied at almost three-times (163%) that rate.

As of 2018, almost half of the women who own a business in the US are from a minority group.

There is currently an estimated 5,824,300 businesses owned by women of colour, employing 2,230,600 people and generating $387bn (£301.2bn) in combined revenue.

The American Express report is based on data from the United States Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners (SBO).