ND Small Business Development Centers
ND Small Business Development Centers

Helping North Dakotans Start, Manage, and Grow Their Business.

September 2022

Greetings from the North Dakota Small Business Development Network (ND SBDC, ND PTAC, and VBOC of the Dakotas!)

Did you know that in North Dakota, women made up 45.3% of workers and owned 42.9% of businesses in 2021? (According to the U.S. SBA Office of Advocacy)

The ND SBDC continues to see an increase in demand for services from women entrepreneurs and women small business owners. In the last two years, approximately 49% of our clients each year have been female. The increase is so significant that in 2021 the number of female clients was more than double that from 2017. Of those 765 female clients in 2021, 38% of those were reported to be 100% women-owned businesses!

Statistically speaking, the number of female clients working with the ND SBDC
in recent years is better than the overall general demographic breakdown in our state, which is great news for us! Nationally, the numbers look very similar. According to a report by American Express, there are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. This figure represents 42% of all companies in the country. That means women own 4 out of 10 businesses, and these businesses generate about $1.8 trillion annually. Women are successfully making headway in the world of entrepreneurship, but it comes with a lot of hard work and overcoming some notable challenges.

We see it every day, entrepreneurs and small business owners, regardless of gender, face sometimes devastating obstacles and challenges. However, women entrepreneurs face additional challenges related to limited funding opportunities, social expectations and gender biases, work life balance (competing demands for their time), and in some areas, legal inequities and a lack of government support. Some quick facts:

  • According to Crunchbase data, only about 2.3% of venture capital goes to women entrepreneurs.
  • When pitching to investors, two-thirds of 750 females felt they were not taken seriously.
  • According to Pew data, stay-at-home parents account for about 18% of parents in the U.S., with the vast majority being women.
  • 48% of female founders report that a lack of role models and mentors limits their professional growth, according to Inc. (psst… we are happy to assist!!)

Each year in October, we celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month. Next month, take some time to recognize the myriad achievements of female entrepreneurs and the positive impact they are making on job growth and our economy. Stop into a local women-owned business and make a purchase, thank a friend for the time and energy they devote to making their women-owned small business a success, or share social media posts for a women-owned small business. Through owning small businesses, women have paved a path that has provided many examples and benefits to the business world for generations to come. It is important to recognize how far our country and state have progressed in supporting women business owners. Meet just a few of North Dakota’s successful and determined female business owners on our Success Stories webpage, or in the archived stories from past years. Female entrepreneurs and owners like Rosa Marques Estrella, Teresa Gulleson and Melissa Oberlander, Dee Decimus, Chelsey Sloan, Niki Brose, Teresa Kasprick, Julie Ness, Dr. Anna Petry, Pam Burch, the women behind 701 Eateries, and so many more!

We would be remiss, if we forgot to mention some of the set-asides available for women-owned small businesses in the government contracting realm. Many opportunities exist for these businesses to enter into contracts or subcontracts where funding is specifically limited to their business, simply because of their ownership structure. For more information about these opportunities, or how a women-owned small business can build up their capacity to qualify for available contracts, please connect with the ND Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Dave and Cathy are happy to help.

Help us as we continue to work on increasing the number of successful women entrepreneurs and small business owners in our state. And don’t forget to celebrate these women for reaching for their dreams and overcoming challenges, not just during October for National Women’s Small Business Month, but all year-round!

Thanks for reading!

Tiffany Ford, State Director
And all the Staff of the ND Small Business Development Network

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