Celebrating the Power of Women Entrepreneurs in Ventura County

Cheryl Heitmann is EDC-VC board chair and Ventura City Councilwoman

Contributed by Cheryl Heitmann, EDC-VC Board Chair

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, which calls us to recognize the leading role that women-owned businesses play in economic vitality and social equity. According to the Small Business Administration, nearly all (99.9%) of women-owned businesses are small business, and indeed their impact is mighty. They contribute more than $1.4 trillion in sales and 6.5 million jobs. Nationally, in minority communities, the impact is even greater than in the overall population, because a larger share of minority-owned businesses are owned by women, compared to non-minority counterparts.

While this is encouraging, there is still much work to be done. The vast majority of women-owned businesses are in restaurants and eating places, and personal care services, which are lower-paying sectors. This helps explain why women-owned businesses overall fall behind in revenue and employment–for every dollar of revenue an average women-owned business earns, the male-owned business earns $2.30, and for every 10 employees at a women-owned business, a male-owned business employs 15. In addition, women face more obstacles than their male counterparts, including access to capital and other essential support for growth.
In Ventura County, we have much to be proud of in support of women entrepreneurs. As the regional SBCD, we have delivered more than 6,000 advising hours to women and helped 101 women-owned startups, achieving real results for these businesses:
  • Increased sales by more than $37 million
  • Helped secure more than $13 million in capital
  • Serviced more than 660 firms total, including 101 start-ups
  • Created 430 jobs
Here, half of small businesses are fully-owned by women, and a quarter are 50% women-owned. Clearly women entrepreneurs are a powerful force in our local economy.
The mission of the EDC-VC and the SBDC, Women’s Economic Ventures, SCORE, and the National Association of Women Business Owners, among the groups, are to provide education and support for this vital segment of our economy, and for that, we can be proud as we hasten our efforts to even-out the pay scales and continue to empower entrepreneurial dreams.

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