October is National Women’s Small Business Month in the United States. In honor of National Women’s Small Business Month, we explore the trends for women in business going global.

October, 2014 also marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988. Among other things, the Act established the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) to review the status of women-owned businesses nationwide and to act as an independent advisory council to the US President, the US Congress and the SBA on economic issues of importance to women business owners.

The NWBC reports that there are 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the United States. 88.3% of these operate as solo entrepreneurs; the remaining 11.7% employ about 7.6 million people. US women entrepreneurs generate $1.2 trillion in gross revenue, reports the NWBC. An American Express report updates this figure for 2013 to over 8.6 million women-owned businesses generating US$1.3 trillion in revenue.

We were interested to explore what percentage of this activity involves women in business going global.

Women in Business Going Global

In 2012, about 224 million women in 67 economies around the world were entrepreneurs. Of these, 112 million, or just about 50%, employed one or more people in their businesses.
SOURCE: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2012 Women’s Report

Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Across the board, according to the GEM Report, female entrepreneurs are less involved in international trade than are their male counterparts. However, the gap between men and women involved in international trade is greatest in the developed economies. In the United States, for example, only about 7% of women entrepreneurs are involved in international trade.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurs and businesses that export achieve higher returns than those who focus on their domestic market! In the United States, for example, average receipts for women-owned exporting firms were $14.5 million while the average receipts for women-owned non-exporting firms was only $117,036, according to this report on The Story Exchange.

So, we encourage women entrepreneurs to remember that their next big opportunity and path to growth could come from anywhere in the world. And in many ways, women are uniquely placed to take advantage of these opportunities.

Using the three T’s – Trade Agreements, Trade Financing & Technology –  our blog series, provides tips and resources to help entrepreneurs take their business global. Contact us to learn more.