Women entrepreneurs own 10.6 million businesses in the U.S., and employ 19.1 million people, who account for $2.5 trillion in sales. But according to the Kauffman Foundation, women represent only 35 percent of startup business owners, even though they represent about 46 percent of the workforce and more than 50 percent of college students.
So why aren’t there more women entrepreneurs?
One study, conducted by the University of North Carolina and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (and reported by National Public Radio) looked at 90,000 entrepreneurial projects launched on the crowdfunding website, Kickstarter. The study found that men are much more likely to be overconfident than women. When their project failed, they were much more likely to keep trying, while women tended to give up. Also, when women succeeded, they were more likely to feel that they just got lucky, while men feel that they are “geniuses.”
There is help for women entrepreneurs just starting out. The SBA set up its 8(a) Business Development Program to assist Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) to compete for federal contracts in industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented. Women and minority-owned businesses can get access to specialized business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development. The SBA also offers guaranteed loans and bonding assistance for being involved in the program. SAMS has benefited from its SBA designation, and has also become part of the Mentor Protégé program which helps other women entrepreneurs through one-on-one mentorship.
Building a business is not easy, and many women cite the same characteristics as helping them to achieve their dream.
Gayle King of CBS news talks about persistence as a trait helped propel her to achieve her goal. She advises would-be entrepreneurs to “Surround yourself with people that are better than you, because it forces you to up your game. Most importantly, never take no for an answer.”
When Staci Redmon founded SAMS, it was important to her to develop core values, which still remain at the heart of the company. These are commitment to employees, commitment to the client, and commitment to the community.
Staci started SAMS out of sheer frustration. As a veteran and a civil servant, she watched as vital equipment for our warfighters was denied funding. She used her determination and commitment to service members to fuel her drive to create an organization with the vision to measure impact not by the bottom line, but by the difference it could make. Since its founding, SAMS has won numerous awards and has been hailed repeatedly as one of the fastest growing companies in Virginia.
Another entrepreneur, JK Rowling, also relied on persistence to overcome adversity. Her literary agency sent the book to 12 different publishers before it was accepted. Rowling says, “I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy into the only work that mattered to me. I was set free.”
As women entrepreneurs continue to pursue their dreams, the path to success, while never easy, becomes clearer and less uncertain by following in the footsteps of those who came before.
You can find more about SAMS and Staci’s 2020 Vision for the Future on our website http://www.getsamsnow.com.