Note: This article was originally published on the official Office of Advocacy SBA website on March 27, 2023. You can read the original article here.
Our nation celebrated the very first Women’s History Month in 1987. Since then, women-owned businesses grew to over 11 million firms. According to the Office of Advocacy’s most recent publication, What’s New with Small Business, women-owned 1.2 million employer firms in 2019, representing 21.7% of all employers. Women also owned about 10.9 million non-employer firms in 2018, or 42% of all non-employer firms, putting them closer to parity with firms primarily owned by men. Currently, women-owned firms are one of the fastest-growing groups in the country.
To ensure Region 6 remains connected to this growing sector, I partnered with the Dallas/Fort Worth District Office this Women’s History Month to host a Women’s Small Business and Stakeholder Roundtable along with Regional Administrator Edward “Ted” James. Twenty-five participants, including women small business owners and partners, attended the roundtable. Out of the 25 participants, only two were familiar with Advocacy. Because these small entities were unfamiliar with Advocacy’s practices, they were eager to share their regulatory concerns, learn about Advocacy resources, and gain further information regarding my role and our national outreach strategy.
While the types of industries varied in attendance, many entrepreneurs shared common frustrations around the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rulemaking for the non-compete clause rule. One business owner shared her frustrations about client poaching in the trucking industry. The business owner commented if the non-compete clause is updated, the potential risk of client reduction and neighboring competition would be too heavy of a burden. Others shared similar concerns and frustrations around being smaller companies in need of more protections to secure their intellectual property.
As I listened to their concerns and noted their frustrations, I also shared this information with Assistant Chief Counsel Jennifer A. Smith, who works on Federal Trade Commission regulations. Advocacy is constantly working on the behalf of small business owners to ensure their voices are being heard within the federal government as their responsibilities and companies expand.
According to the latest available data from the National Women’s Business Council, women-owned employer firms grew more than three times the rate of their men-owned counterparts between 2012 and 2019. The opportunity for continued growth is a welcomed trend. As women-owned businesses continue to grow, like other small entities, it is essential to remain in contact with Advocacy to help maintain ethical standards, utilize agency resources, and leverage business voices.
It is my hope that next year women entrepreneurs will reach even further milestones in growth and expansion across various industries.