Despite progress over the past several years, women business owners in Connecticut sill cite access to capital as the single biggest barrier to opening their own company.
The data comes from a new survey sponsored by the Stamford-based Women’s Business Development Council, representing responses from 458 individuals, most of whom are women business owners.
The survey found that:
Women business owners claim access to capital (25 percent), lack of start-up knowledge (20 percent) and the need to gain credibility (18 percent) as the three biggest challenges they faced when launching their own business;
The top-three skill sets that women business owners felt that they most needed to gain or strengthen in order for their business to thrive included financial skills (61 percent), marketing skills (58 percent), and how to seek capital (43 percent);
Women business owners said that their three primary reasons for starting their own business were for personal fulfillment (62 percent), freedom to work for themselves (57 percent), and to gain more flexibility with their family (40 percent);
Eighty-one percent of responding women business owners anticipate their business revenues to increase over the next five years and 60 percent expect to increase the number of employees at their business to increase within the next five year.
“Perhaps most the most shocking data,” WBDC CEO Fran Pastore said, “are the figures on workplace harassment, sexism, and racism. More than two-thirds – 68 percent – of the women business owners who responded say they have personally experienced the glass ceiling at some point in their career. And two-thirds – 64 percent – also say they have experienced workplace harassment at some point in their career.
“And the vast majority, 88 percent, of those who have identified themselves in the survey as minority women business owners report having experienced racism at some point in their career,” she added. “These are societal issues that impact the world of women at work and the advancement of obtaining economic equity.”
Of 158 respondents within Fairfield County, 47 percent said their business had experienced a profit in 2017, with 29 percent saying they posted a loss and the remainder saying they broke even. Over the last five years, 49 percent said their revenue had increased, with 19 percent saying it had decreased.
Nearly 80 percent of county-based business owners said they expected revenue to increase over the next five years, with just 5 percent predicting a revenue decrease.