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Number of women-owned businesses grows

The number of women-owned businesses has continued to grow during the past 16 years. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.com.)

Businesswomen are making up for lost time. The 2013 State of Women-Owned Business Report shows a national increase of 59 percent between 1997 and 2013. Had women been given the right to vote and own property at the same time as men, it might not warrant notice.

The fact that the number of women owning businesses has grown 1.5 percent times the national average is noteworthy. Locally, there has been a 21 percent increase in women joining the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce since 2009.

"I didn't think it would be that high," said Coni McKay, executive director of the Chamber. "It's a big increase."

McKay focused on the timespan between 2009 and 2013 because it is after the recession hit. In that time, 180 new members joined; 38 are women.

According to the report, over the past six years since the recession, the only businesses that have shown an increase in employment are large publicly traded corporations and privately held majority women-owned firms.

One of the largest increases has been among minority women. In 1997, only 17 percent of businesses were owned by women of color. Today, one in three U.S. firms is owned by a minority woman.

"Women are the driving force behind many businesses."

Coni McKay

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALEXANDRIA LAKES AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

In a state-by-state comparison, Minnesota ranks 39th in growth in number of firms, 32nd in revenue and 17th in employment growth. The Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area figures are a bit higher: 20th in growth, 14th in revenue and fourth in employment.

Overall, women are holding their own in eight of 13 industry sectors, including construction and transportation. The top three areas where women dominate are health care and social assistance (52.7 percent of concentration within industry), educational services (45.1 percent) and administrative, support and waste management services (44.3).

Based on her observations, McKay believes the number of women owning businesses in the Alexandria area will continue to grow. McKay said, however, that the number of women business owners is not quite representational of women leaders in business.

"Many women manage a business but aren't owners," McKay said. "Women are the driving force behind many businesses."

The Office of Women's Business Ownership, part of the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers training, counseling and grant opportunities for economically or socially disadvantaged women entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.sba.gov.

2013 TRENDS

Women are focusing on a different kind of figure these days.

8.6 million - estimated women-owned businesses nationally in 2013

(146,600 in Minnesota)

$1.3 trillion generated by women-owned firms

($21,419,700 in Minnesota)

7.8 million people employed

(149,100 in Minnesota)

DeyCrystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.

Crystal Dey

Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.

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