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Women are an incredibly powerful force in the U.S. economy. Today, more than 11 million women-led businesses generate more than $1.6 trillion in revenue and create more than 9 million jobs. However, running a business isn’t easy. In order to identify how to help more women entrepreneurs to scale their companies, Endeavor Insight and Google for Startups teamed up to interview and survey more than 1,000 women founders.
More women are working as entrepreneurs than at any previous time in the United States. The rate of women-owned businesses has grown by over 140% since 1997. Still, women are less likely than men to start a business, and women-owned businesses are significantly less likely to scale to significant levels, such as reaching $25 million in annual revenues or employing at least 50 people.
Overall, women entrepreneurs who built businesses that scale report that their experiences are similar to those of men in the same industries, but there are clear differences between women who scale and those who don’t when it comes to access to networks. On average, women who scale tend to have better networks than those who do not. These networks include mentors who have been successful entrepreneurs or executives as well as relationships with potential funders and customers.
How do they do this? Successful women entrepreneurs shared numerous stories of doing “crazy amounts of networking,” creating relationships with successful mentors, and working to join informal groups of women executives in their cities.
This represents an important opportunity for organizations who work to support women founders. Interviews conducted for this project suggest that the lack of access to a supportive network can make it difficult to secure crucial building blocks to scaling their companies, from access to capital, strong mentors, business tools, and talent to build a strong team and achieve high growth.
Closing this entrepreneurship gap presents a huge opportunity: If women scaled businesses at the same rate as men, it could add as much as $500 billion in additional productivity each year to U.S. gross domestic product.
More information from this research will be published later this spring. Please reach out to Maha Abdelazim at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
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