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Women Owners Hit $1 Million Glass Ceiling

Apr 11, 2011

By Emily Mattby, WSJ

Women-owned businesses are growing in number, but their revenues aren't, new data shows.

Between 1997-2011, the number of women-owned firms in the US increased by 50% - that's a rate 1.5 times the national average.  However such growth is not reflected in the size of their businesses.  In 1997, 1.8% of women-owned firms had $1 million or more in revenues and that figure remains unchanged today.

The findings were extrapolated from US Census Bureau data and released in a report on Thursday by American Express OPEN, the financial-services company's small business division.

In addition to looking at a growth among women-owned businesses, the report also explored industries that are most attractive to women entrepreneurs.  It found that 52% of health-care and social assistance firms are owned by women as are 46% of educational services companies.

The industries with the lowest concentration of women-owned firms are construction (8%) and finance and insurance (20%).

Sales and employment at women-owned firms have long lagged the national average.  WSJ explored this topic last year in "What's Holding Back Women Entrepreneurs?"

The question remains open to debate.  As the report puts it: "Something is putting women-owned firms off their stride as they grow larger; they fall behind toward the end of the entrepreneurial marathon."

What do you think is the cause for the glass ceiling at the $1 million revenue mark?  How might women entrepreneurs topple this trend?

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