Do women need to see other successful female entrepreneurs to believe they can become one? Or are we, as a society, past this “proof of concept” stage? I would like to think that we have made headways to remove barriers to entry, but the numbers aren’t quite there yet to support it.
In Arizona, we have may traditions that celebrate and highlight successful women. We have high-profile annual awards and recognition programs, strong organizations for female leaders and entrepreneurs and a lot of resources. Yet, only 20.9% of employer businesses in Arizona were woman-owned in 2019. That’s only one-fifth!
Same percentage was found in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 Annual Business Survey released on October 28, 2021. As we begin a new calendar year, I am curious where the numbers are now, and where they will in the coming years.
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the unified voice of more than 11.6 million woman-owned businesses in the United States, and we are representing the fastest-growing segment of the economy. Nationwide, the largest sectors for woman-owned businesses were healthcare and social assistance followed by professional, scientific and technical services. Veteran-owned businesses made up about 5.7% of all businesses in the U.S. and 6.0% in Arizona.
In Arizona, we are seeing more women entrepreneurs entering traditionally male-dominated sectors like technology, construction, manufacturing and even newer industries like cannabis. The women I meet are remarkable, strong and talented. While they certainly didn’t need a “proof of concept” to be successful, each one that I spoke with had someone who either inspired or mentored her in the process.
As we begin a new year, I challenge you to think about legacy. Thinking of gratitude as an intersection of the past with the future. In addition to thanking the people who helped you “arrive,” consider who will be thanking you for inspiring them. If you are a woman in business or a female in a leadership role, please take a careful look at the seeds that you are planting for future generation. Who will think of you as their mentor? Who will thank you for inspiring them to push to the next level?
At NAWBO, we have a great mentoring program and many ways to support the next generation of female entrepreneurs. Please join us for one our upcoming events and learn how you can positively impact others. Whether you are an established business owner or are brand new to this game, you will find new friends and great resources as we continue to celebrate entrepreneurship!
Ania Kubicki is president of the NAWBO – Phoenix Chapter. She is the owner of ANGLES, a communications agency with a mission to connect ideas and the people behind them to those who benefit from them. Based at the Center for Positive Media, a newly created collaborative think tank inspiring a positive transformation of the media narrative, ANGLES works with visionaries who challenge the status quo and disrupt industries that need change. For more information visit online at www.anglespr.com.