The 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express Open is a summary of important trends from 1997 through 2013. It provides insight into opportunities for women-owned business enterprises (WBEs) in 2014. The Report reinforces trends seen in earlier reports and in other research -- the number of WBEs "continues to rise at rates exceeding the national average, yet they remain smaller than the average firm." According to the Report, "[a]s of 2013, it is estimated that there are over 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating over $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.8 million people." And, WBEs "have added an estimated 175,000 jobs to the U.S. economy since 2007." The Report also found that, nationally, the number of WBEs "has increased by 59% since 1997."

The Report's important findings include:

  • "The number and economic contributions of women-owned firms continue to grow. The rate of growth in the number of women-owned enterprises over the past 16 years remains higher than the national average. Between 1997 and 2013, the number of women-owned firms is growing at 1½ times the national average.
  • Over the past six years, since the depth of the U.S. recession, the only businesses that have provided a net increase in employment are large, publicly traded corporations... and privately held majority women-owned firms...
  • Since 1997, the growth in the number and economic contributions of firms owned by women of color is nothing short of remarkable. Comprising just 17% of women-owned firms 16 years ago, firms owned by women of color now account for one in three women-owned firms in the U.S.
  • Comparing trends in the number and revenue accomplishments of women-owned and all firms by industries finds that women-owned firms are exceeding overall sector growth in eight of the 13 most populous industries, and in two of those industries (construction and transportation) women business owners are standing toe-to-toe with their competitors in terms of revenue accomplishments.
  • The states with the fastest growth in the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms are the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Nevada, Wyoming and Georgia. The fastest growing metropolitan areas for women-owned firms are San Antonio TX, Portland OR, Houston TX, Riverside CA, and Washington DC/MD/VA." (Emphasis added).

WBEs "are standing toe-to-toe with their industry peers -- meaning that an equal share of women-owned firms in the sector are generating in excess of half a million dollars in revenues annually -- in two industries: construction, where 13% of women-owned firms and 11% of all construction firms are pulling in $500,000+ per year; and in transportation and warehousing, where 6% of each are generating $500,000 or more in revenues." Nonetheless, WBEs in construction at 7% are still below average. The construction industry, as a whole, however, has seen a decline both in the number of WBEs and all firms since 2002.

However, according to the Report, the industries with the highest concentration of WBEs are:

  • Health care and social assistance -- 53%
  • Educational services -- 45%
  • Other Services -- 41%
  • Administrative Support and Waste Management Services -- 44%
  • Construction -- 7%
  • Transportation and Warehousing -- 11%
  • Finance and Insurance -- 20%

Between 1997 and 2013, the states with the fastest growth in the number of WBEsare:

  • Georgia -- up 112%
  • Texas -- 93%
  • North Carolina -- 91%
  • Louisiana -- 94%
  • Nevada -- 84%

In contrast, during this same period of time, the states with the lowest growth in the number of WBEs are: 

  • Alaska -- 12%
  • West Virginia -- 23%
  • Iowa -- 23%
  • Ohio -- 27%
  • Kansas -- 27%

As of 2013, in top 25 most populous metropolitan areas, the greatest number of WBEsare located in:

  • New York, NY/NJ-- 663,200
  • Los Angeles, CA -- 432,300
  • Chicago, IL -- 308,000
  • Miami, FL -- 229,800
  • Washington DC/MD/VA -- 209,700

The Report is certainly an interesting read and encourages optimism and growth in 2014 for WBEs.