Women-Owned Businesses Add $9.5 Billion To Arkansas Economy

LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — Arkansas now has an estimated 80,400 women-owned businesses employing 55,700 staff and contributing $9.5 billion in revenue to the state economy, according to an American Express OPEN report that analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners and factoring in relative changes in Gross Domestic Product.

The number of female-owned businesses is up 88% from 20 years ago, according to the 2017 report.

On a national level, the count has more than doubled during the time frame, marking a growth rate that is 2.5 times faster than the overall number of businesses in the U.S., there are an estimated 11.6 million women-owned enterprises that employ close to 9 million people and generate more than $1.7 trillion in revenue.

In fact, an average of 849 new businesses are started each day by women, according to American Express, which has commissioned the State of Women-Owned Businesses report annually the last seven years. That number peaked at 1,143 per day during the Great Recession and recovery period between 2007 and 2012.

“One thing is, I think we have a better understanding of what constitutes a business. That knowledge has been increased over the last 20 years,” said Anthony Armstrong, loan mobilization manager in the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission in Little Rock.

In the past, many women who provided a wide range of services including sewing, housekeeping, childcare and planning events, did not consider themselves business owners, he said.

“Now, there is an understanding of many individuals, women included, that you are a business owner.”

Those individuals are increasingly receiving 1099 forms for their earnings and claim them on their taxes. E-commerce is another space where business propriety has increased, he Armstrong said.

“With e-commerce you are able to be vendor from the privacy of your own home, and you are a business owner. … So, technology is also at play in those increased numbers.”

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