Celebrating the H(er)story of Women-Owned Businesses

In honor of American Business Women’s Day, we are celebrating how far women have come in business. From 1905, when Madam C.J. Walker became the first female self-made millionaire in America, to the 42% of all U.S businesses being female-run in 2019, women have been an inspiration for many to strive for a better future. 

Women in Business: From Past to Present

The first American women participating in the workforce included Eliza Lucas Pinckney, who in the 1700s successfully created high-quality indigo dye. Pinckney’s successes helped her become the first woman inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame. 

Adopted in 1920, the 19th Amendment — granting women the right to vote — led to many firsts for women, especially in the work force. From the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to the Equal Pay Act signed into law in 1963, opportunities for women had taken a turn for the better.

In 1988, the HR 5050: Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 was passed to help aid in the success of women-owned businesses. This gave women the right to obtain business loans without a male signature and directed the Small Business Administration to issue financial assistance to small women-owned private organizations.

Chipping Away at Glass Ceilings

From the late 1800’s to 1985, women in the work force rose from 15% to 17%. And from the 1980’s to now, these percentages only increased. Women have more rights. They have the freedom to get an education, vote and earn as much money as the men in their families, which is a real game changer.

Between 2014 and 2019:

  • Women-owned businesses represent 42% of all U.S. businesses
  • Women-owned businesses increased 21%
  • Employment by women-owned businesses rose 8%
  • The revenue for women owned businesses grew 21%

This Future of the Female Entrepreneur 

It’s true, there are many more female entrepreneurs today than there were in the 18th century, but they are still the minority. Women are overcoming the challenges that come with starting your own business. Accessible funding and fear of failure are only two challenges women entrepreneurs face. But while a majority of start-ups are led by men, there is still a sizable number of women working on getting their businesses up and running.

Running a business is no simple task for any gender, but it’s easier to run your start-up business with support from the right organizations. In Orlando for example, programs like WE (Women Entrepreneurs) powered by CEO Nexus who works with Rollins Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship, brings businesswomen together to elevate their businesses. In 2017, WE was founded by Judi Awsumb — owner of Awsumb Enterprisesto work with women business owners who want to accelerate the growth of their companies. The objective is to implement innovative solutions specific to the many business challenges women leaders face by sharing expertise in a collaborative “peer to peer” learning environment. With the CEO Nexus Content Model, entrepreneurs learn about leadership development and the three key components — strategy, operations and succession — that help expand your business.  

On American Business Women’s Day and every day, we want to empower women and encourage them to follow their dreams. Kudos to the WE leader Judi Awsumb, Appleton Creative’s Diana LaRue who branded WE and is part of the inaugural 2017 group. Other great WE CEO Nexus women business owners also include Claire Evans RobinsonMary Ann Ferrell, Olive Gaye, Sue Messner, Kim Pearson, Donna Best, Leslie Christin, Dr. Kizzy Dominguez, Ashley Steiner, Brianna Michelle, Reagan Le Douaron and Dr. Debrah Harding.

Appleton is a women-owned award-winning, full-service advertising agency in Orlando, Florida that specializes in delivering a strong, unified visual and verbal presence through branding and messaging. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to build a strong and cohesive brand that standardizes any company’s look and communications across print, web, social media and video. Your branding goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or info@appletoncreative.com.

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