October is the anniversary of President Ronald Reagan signing the H.R. 5050: the Women’s Business Ownership Act, legislation that helped end discriminatory practices against female-owned businesses. Signed in 1988, the Act established resources for female entrepreneurs, but most notably, it ended the practice of some states requiring that women have a male relative as a co-signer when applying for bank loans.
The legislation saw the number of businesses owned by women skyrocket. "In 1972, there were only 402,000 female-owned businesses, representing 4.6% of all businesses." This number skyrocketed in the years following, and now 42% of companies in the United States are owned by women. Even more impressive, 50% of those female-owned organizations are owned by women of color.
Women are a major driver in the marketplace and economy as a whole, with their businesses generating $1.9 trillion in revenue, and employing 9.4 million individuals.
With that in mind, it is imperative to not only celebrate October and female entrepreneurs everywhere, but it is also important to encourage others to continue in their tradition and create a culture of support that helps them achieve their goals. It is important that like-minded women network, support each other financially, and devote time to mentoring those in need. Thankfully, there are many resources available.
Take the time today to celebrate National Women's Small Business Month and share news of the great things female entrepreneurs, and even employees, are doing. Also, with minority women starting companies 4.5 times the rate of all businesses, it is important to give them, in particular, the support and encouragement they need.
Thinking of starting a business? View our resources.