Celebrate National Women's Small Business Month in Pierce County
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Pierce County is home to many small businesses owned and operated by women. This year, the Pierce County Economic Development Corporation (PCDC) will be acknowledging the success of women business owners by creating an annual Women in Business Award.
October is National Women’s Small Business Month, so in anticipation of “award season” this is an excellent time to celebrate the success of our county’s women entrepreneurs.
Here are just a few of the Pierce County companies owned by women –
Co-owner Mary Anne Wise is making a difference throughout the world by working with indigenous women who are expert craftsman. From Guatemala to India and Africa, these artisans are producing stunning works that are being sold by Cultural Cloth in the store and online. Cultural Cloth educates the women they work with, empowers them with business knowledge, and makes it possible for them to support their families and improve the economic conditions of their villages.
Owner Nancy Williams has a passion for beautiful design and well-done printing. Her passion sparked a design, print and copy business in River Falls. With an in-house graphic designer, they are able to provide customers with a full-service solution that begins with the design process and ends with a beautiful and tangible product. Nancy said, I have for passion small business and this community has a vibrant small business climate. These businesses benefit our local economy and help build the community spirit River Falls is known for. It's a blessing to be a part of it.”
Kayleen Jakes started Brush Strokes in 2014 as a way to bring a new form of entertainment to Pierce County. As Kayleen said, “Brush Strokes paint parties bring family and friends together for lots of laughter and a little creativity. I am not a formal art instructor and my classes are not presented that way. The painting classes are 1-3 hours in length and are for any age and any artistic level. Classes are held either privately at someone’s home or at a public venue like a bar or restaurant. I love seeing the look on someone’s face when they completely exceed their own expectations for the class.”
History of Women-Owned Businesses in the United States
During westward expansion it was common for women to own businesses and take leadership roles, even if they were less formalized. However, as cultural and economic dynamics began to shift away from small family-owned businesses, women began to focus more on domestic pursuits or filling support positions. That has drastically changed over the past fifty years.
Since 1972, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has risen 3,000 percent. It’s an impressive statistic, especially considering the fact that women were required to have a male co-signer in order to get a loan up until 1988.
Women have come a long way since 1988. That’s why October has been designated as National Women’s Small Business Month. It’s an opportune time to recognize and celebrate the impact female entrepreneurs have on our economy.
Today women own 39 percent of small businesses in the U.S. In the last two decades, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 114 percent — a growth rate of more than two and a half times the national average.
It’s important to acknowledge this phenomenal progress while also understanding that challenges still exist for women in business. Research by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor indicates women in the U.S. are 18 percent less likely than men to have the confidence to start a business.
The absence of role models has been identified as a significant barrier to female entrepreneurship. There’s also evidence to indicate women may have a harder time accessing business financing and may face biases when trying to raise capital.
Raising awareness of women entrepreneurs is a key step in improving this situation. When women hold visible business leadership roles, other women are more likely to consider entrepreneurism as an option.
The PCDC understands the importance of encouraging women in business. We work with organizations like the Small Business Development Center to provide a range of entrepreneurial support and resources to help with business inception and development as well as finding avenues for financing. We encourage anyone seeking information or resources to contact us or one of our partners today.