A new report by American Express shows that women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than other privately held companies and in a wide variety of industries, but the growth in Ohio lags behind the growth in other states.

According to the 2012 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, which was commissioned by American Express OPEN, the number of women-owned businesses has increased 54 percent in the past 15 years, and revenues are up 58 percent in that time. In particular, women-owned businesses are prominent in the education, health care and social assistance sectors.

Twenty nine percent of all privately held businesses are considered women-owned, and they cut across a growing diversity of industries. For example, women-owned businesses comprise only 8 percent of all construction companies, but those women-owned construction companies have increased employees and revenue at a rate equal to or better than non-women-owned construction companies over the past 10 years – and women-owned construction companies are more likely to generate $500,000 or more in annual revenue.

Considering the federal government’s mandate to make contracts available to women-owned and small businesses, there are opportunities for continued growth. Barnes Dennig can help a woman-owned business attain the proper certification.

Women-owned businesses have long been a staple of the local economy. Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Ohio ranks ninth in the total number of women-owned businesses (with more than 255,000) but ranks 50th in the growth of those businesses over the past decade (based on the percentage of new women-owned businesses, the percentage of new employees and percentage of new revenue).

According to the American Express report, women-owned businesses in Ohio will generate an estimated $42.5 million in revenue in 2012 and employ 289,000 people – nearly 40 percent more revenue than they generated in 1997, but with 2,000 fewer employees. Only Iowa has experienced less growth among its women-owned businesses. Kentucky ranks 44th and Indiana ranks 32nd in growth. D.C., Nevada and Wyoming have seen the greatest growth.

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