Women-owned small businesses have come a long way.
In 1972, 4.6% of all businesses were owned by women. That number has grown to approximately 40%, with 12.3 million women-owned businesses across the United States. The number of female owners of small businesses has taken a jump recently, increasing by 58% in 2007.
That’s tremendous growth in a relatively short timeframe. But there’s still progress to make. 93% of women-owned businesses currently generate less than $250,000 in yearly revenue.
But we continue to celebrate Women-Owned Small Business month to not only celebrate the strides made by female entrepreneurs, but to continue the improving trends that have promoted gender equality in business.
In particular, it’s worth remembering that there are specific benefits for registering as a woman-owned business:
- Information. For certified woman-owned businesses, you’ll find access to a broad range of databases to increase supplier diversity.
- Training and mentorship. Women-owned businesses can also access educational opportunities, training programs, workshops, and mentorship programs.
- The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting program. As the SBA notes, “To help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the women’s contracting program.”
We think it’s worth taking time out this month to consider the impact your business has had—not to mention the potential benefits of registering as a Woman-Owned business. Here’s why.
More Reasons to Register as a Woman-Owned Business
Visit the SBA and you’ll see that there are a number of benefits for being a woman-owned business.
For starters, there’s an Office of Women’s Business Owners that includes the following benefits:
- Business training
- Federal contracts
- Access to credit and capital
The office, known as the OWBO, also supervises a number of Women’s Business Centers for more personal, direct assistance for business owners who need it.
The SBA also makes available the 8(a) Business Development program (a program for those who have to struggle as a result of social or economic disadvantage) as well as lender matching for any business owner that needs to find SBA-approved lenders.
How to Register as a Women-Owned Business
Wondering how to get WOSB certification? The SBA includes form 2413 as a requirement before applying for many of these special programs. The form is easy to fill out, and requires that you fill in your specific information. One of the main requirements is that at least 51% of the business has to be owned by women business owners who are U.S. citizens.
Even before you think about certification, it’s a good idea to review this PDF just to make sure that you qualify and that there aren’t any issues that might lead to you not receiving certification in the WOSB program. Look through the PDF and do a quick scan before starting off the process.
Celebrating Women-Owned Business Month
You don’t have to be a woman to celebrate all of the progress that’s being made. You don’t even have to own a business. Here’s how you can help celebrate women business owners this month—and every other October:
- Ask to share the stories you know. Organizations like the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council are always looking for great stories to highlight the success of women in business. If you know someone with a story to tell, ask them if you can share a story like that with the WBENC for possibly being highlighted on social media.
- Buy from women-owned businesses. Look for the Women Owned logo or Women Owned products. You can even browse the hashtag #BuyWomenOwned to see what’s happening online and if there are products that you’ve been looking for that you can purchase from a woman-owned business. Find out more about this at Buy Women Owned.
- Spread awareness. You don’t have to be a woman owning a small business to raise awareness for what’s going on. No matter what your personal net worth or gross income, you still have a network online. Share awareness of this month and its importance by including some of the statistics you read above.
- Join the Women Owned movement. You can find more about this movement by visiting Women Owned, which includes business directories, logos, and information on spreading the word about women owned businesses.
No matter what you do, there’s always room for you to support WOSB month.
Feedback from Some of Our Favorite Women Owned Businesses
We at Grasshopper always appreciate hearing from women-owned small businesses that benefit from using our services. That’s why we’d like to highlight the feedback we’ve gotten from women in business recently:
Said Megan Thoma, who works in health care: Grasshopper helps her use her personal cell phone while maintaining a separate number for business use. And the extensions allow her customers to get different information when they need it, even though Megan runs her business by herself, without any additional employees.
Diana Sabados said that Grasshopper helps her “communicate with clients in a confident manner. In between sessions, I use voice text to quickly see which clients I need to respond to. This really just allows me to maintain my privacy in my personal life and my professional lives…to have more easy access to clients where I don’t have to wait until they leave a message to call them back.”
Veronesia Young noted that “we’re constantly adding more people to our company…the fact that we’re paying one set cost and we have unlimited extensions is amazing.” As a mobile therapist, Young noted that it was important to understand that the calls she receives through Grasshopper are 100% safe. “It's like an insurance policy for our clients to know that they're not sharing their information with people that aren't really with our company,” Young said.
This is a great month to think about the women-owned small businesses that have an impact on our lives. It’s not only a reason to celebrate them, but to support them.
How do you celebrate women-owned small business month? Leave your comments below.