N.H. women-owned businesses lead nation in receipts
The increase in the number women-owned businesses in New Hampshire has not been as rapid as in most other parts of the nation, according to a recent report released by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. But the report — based on data collected between 1997 and 2002 - does rank the Granite State first for increase in receipts among women-owned firms during that five-year period. According to data presented by Dr. Ying Lowrey, senior economist for the Office of Advocacy and author of “Women in Business: A Demographic Review of Women’s Business Ownership,” New Hampshire saw an increase of 3,759 in the number of women-owned businesses between 1997 and 2002, rising from 27,265 to 31,024. The nearly 14 percent increase places New Hampshire 31st among states for growth in women-owned businesses. But a growth rate in receipts of 37.2 percent — from $3.1 billion in 1997 to $4.7 million in 2002 — earned New Hampshire the top position in national ranking for receipt growth rate. The New Hampshire findings indicate there’s room for improvement, said Ellen Fineberg, executive director of the Portsmouth-based Women’s Business Center. But she said the state’s ranking for receipt growth is good news, indicating the women-owned businesses that are operating in the Granite State are doing very well. “The increase in women-owned businesses for New Hampshire - a state that thinks of itself as an entrepreneurial state - shows we could be doing a lot better,” Fineberg said. “But being ranked No. 1 nationally for receipts for the women-owned businesses we do have shows the potential for this state is incredible.” While many perceive women-owned businesses to be limited to service and retail operations, Fineberg said, New Hampshire’s female entrepreneurs are involved in a wide variety of ventures. The same appears to be true at the national level, where women-owned businesses include professional, scientific and technical firms as well as health-care and social assistance. While New Hampshire is a slower-growing region nationally, variables hobbling the growth of women-owned businesses in the local region are the same faced by all entrepreneurs, according to Fineberg — rising home costs, health care and energy. “It will be difficult to attract and maintain new businesses until some of these factors can be changed.” Fineberg said she believes a growing minority population also will add to an increase in women-owned businesses in the Granite State, given report findings that the greatest increase in women-owned businesses nationally are among women minority. Nationally, women owned 6.5 million businesses, accounting for 6.5 percent of the total employment in the United States, according to the SBA report — a 20 percent increase between 1997 and 2002.