What Glass Ceiling?

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From this month’s Annual Women in Business Honors in Wichita and Western North Carolina, to a Facebook-backed Conference for Women in Product, awareness and advocacy for talented business women is gaining some well-deserved traction in the business world.

Though women still lag well behind men in terms of earned income and number of entrepreneurs, they are steadily catching up and asserting their influence on multiple sectors of the economy. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics’ report on Women in Business in the 21st Century, between 1997 and 2007 women-owned businesses grew by 44%—twice the growth rate of men-owned firms. However, they were also more likely to go into debt to kick start their firm, and earned merely 55% of what men-owned businesses did. This is significant, especially when compared to the national average of 78%.

Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran, speaking for Entrepreneur, says a woman’s soft skills is where the gender truly shines. Though women can be just as competitive as men, they are more likely to compromise when working together toward a common goal. “We’re better bridge builders, we collaborate better, we don’t stand on ceremony or ego, we’re willing to share credit, and we’re more intuitive and trust our gut more.” Her outspoken views can be polarizing, but perhaps the successful business woman has a point. The coupling between a woman’s socialized gender role and the increasing educational and vocational opportunities appear to be coming together to spin business gold.

To further demonstrate women’s role in the business world, a new study is highlighting female veterans as the demographic to watch in entrepreneurship. Women of color have traditionally been the fastest-growing demographic in small business growth, however female veteran-owned businesses accounted for 2.5 million businesses in the United States, a growth of 296% from 2007 – 2012, pushing this group into the lead. During the same time period, male veteran-owned businesses actually decreased by 7%. Some of the reasons cited for this massive change are the number of female veterans has increased; new government policies that support women-owned firms have been enacted; and there is now more awareness of and resources for these women. On top of this, the veteran-unemployment rate for women is well above that of men and the female general population, which could propel women into the entrepreneurial world.

Either way, this is a promising time for women. With the growing awareness of the vitality women-owned businesses bring to the American economy, comes more resources and better policies to spur innovation.

Hidden Star is one of those resources. We recognize the conditions that put women at a disadvantage when it comes to starting and running a business. We also recognize the unique strengths and essential economic benefits women bring to the workforce. This is why Hidden Star is providing free help to entrepreneurial women all across America. We can help female entrepreneurs secure funding, develop business plans, scout real estate, market their ideas, negotiate deals, and much, much more.

If you know a hard-working woman with an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit, let her know about Hidden Star. Together we can build a better, more egalitarian workforce.

Why? Because it’s 2016.