Saturday, May 14, 2005

Update: Women-owned businesses

What a week it has been for powerful events! I attended the Women's Leadership Exchange on Tuesday and sat in on the Make Mine a $Million Business program for the sole purpose of prospecting for new WPO members. To qualify for WPO membership, you must be a woman president who has guided a business to at least $2 million in annual sales (or $1 million for a service-based business). It looks like nearly all of the women who pitched to win a business loan will qualify for membership in a very short period of time! We can't wait!

According to OPEN from American Express, just 3% of women-owned U.S. businesses generate more than a million dollars in annual revenue, compared to 7% of men-owned businesses in the same category. In addition, women-owned businesses total more than 459,000 in Illinois, representing 50% of all privately held firms in the state, according to the Center for Women's Business Research.

The recent OPEN Small Business Network Monitor survey of women-owned businesses in the Chicago area indicates that women entrepreneurs in Illinois are optimistic about their business future -- 68% have a positive outlook on the economy and business growth.

As soon as I catch my breath, I will report on the Athena Award event that I attended on Thursday night.

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