Women are creating businesses five times faster than the national average; more than 11 million women-owned businesses represent 39 percent of all U.S. firms
Women-owned businesses grow slower and earn less revenue than male-owned firms
Women entrepreneurs have fewer role models, face gender pay gap and unequal access to startup funding
Original interviews with 14 women entrepreneurs across technology, business and non-profit sectors

(Washington, DC) – Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, today released a new report on the state of women’s entrepreneurship in the United States. 

“Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive” examines the intersecting financial, cultural and structural obstacles facing women entrepreneurs in 2017 and includes original interviews with a diverse group of 14 women CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs.

Women are the future of entrepreneurship, creating new businesses at a rate five times faster than the national average.  Thirty years ago, there were approximately 4 million women-owned businesses in the United States.  Today, there are more than 11 million women-owned businesses – representing 39 percent of all firms.  However, women-owned businesses grow at a slower rate and earn less revenue than male-owned firms. 

Shaheen said: “Women are at the center of the American economy.  They are creating new businesses, disrupting established industries and developing innovative products at a record pace.  Despite the progress, women entrepreneurs face persistent institutional barriers that make achieving financial parity with male entrepreneurs a serious challenge with lasting consequences.” 

Among the factors that hold women entrepreneurs back, the report found:

  • Few role models and a lack of mentors for women entrepreneurs contributes to the perception that entrepreneurship is a male-only endeavor;
  • A gender pay gap that is a lifelong hurdle for women entrepreneurs with far-reaching career and earning implications;
  • Unequal access to startup funding and financing streams that leave women with fewer credit options and a small portion of venture capital.

“Understanding and addressing the challenges facing women entrepreneurs can produce economic growth for the country and unleash the potential of women-led businesses,” Shaheen added.  “I hope this report advances the national conversation around gender and helps more women entrepreneurs succeed.”

“Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive” features new interviews with female entrepreneurs who share their business journey and how they overcame adversity on the way to building successful companies, including:

  • Joan Fallon, Curemark
  • Elizabeth Gore, Dell Technologies
  • Felena Hanson, Hera Hub
  • Sarah Kauss, S’well
  • Ashley Kosharek, AMK Cleaning Services
  • Katherine Krug, BetterBack
  • Lisa Price, Carol’s Daughter
  • Carolyn Rodz, Alice
  • Reshma Saujani, Girls Who Code
  • Krystal Shaw, Random Rompers
  • Cheryl Snead, Banneker Industries
  • Sue Sylvester, Absolute Resource Associates
  • Susan Tynan, Framebridge
  • Ann-Erica Whitemarsh, Rascal Rodeo

The report highlights a variety of initiatives to nurture entrepreneurship among women, as well as public and private sector recommendations to reduce gender bias and support the growth of women-led businesses. 

The Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship report, “Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive” is available HERE.