The new arena for business is being built from recycled shards of the glass ceiling.

It’s a welcoming space for women entrepreneurs, where collaboration, consensus and diversity rule. Much of it is virtual, as more and more women opt to do business online. The number of female founders and owners has increased dramatically in recent years, and the impact of businesses with women at the helm is significant in terms of revenues and hiring.

A 2018 report by the SCORE Association, which provides free mentoring service for small business owners, shows women-owned enterprises increased 45 percent—five times faster than the national average—from 2007 to 2016, comprising 39 percent of America’s 28 million small businesses, employing nearly 9 million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue.

Betsy Dougert, SCORE’s director of communications, says, “We follow Small Business Administration guidelines of defining small businesses as firms with fewer than 500 employees and less than $10 million in revenue. SCORE also classifies businesses with 0-4 employees as microbusinesses. The vast majority of our 350,000-plus clients are microbusiness owners…. The average business starts with $5,000 or less in capital.”

“The 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report” from American Express, covering 2007 to 2018, finds women running 40 percent of firms of all sizes—an increase of 58 percent—and employing 9.2 million people, with revenues of $1.8 trillion. Women of color account for 64 percent of startups, with African Americans in the lead, followed by Latinas and Asian Americans.

American Express attributes the rise in female entrepreneurship to both opportunity and necessity. Women surveyed by SCORE mention four major motivations: having the experience to start a successful enterprise, financial readiness, following a passion and desiring flexibility in their lives.

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