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Tapping Vermont’s entrepreneurial talent

Vermont needs to reduce gender disparities in the labor force, and the state needs more jobs. More women-owned businesses could help on both fronts.

A new report by Change the Story VT shows the potential of female business ownership. According to the report, there’s already a strong entrepreneurial spirit among Vermont women. The percentage of working age women whose own businesses are their primary occupation is double the national average. Women are opening new businesses in Vermont at a faster pace than men, and revenue from their businesses is growing faster than that of men.

While the trends are encouraging, the report found there is still a way to go before male- and female-owned businesses are on a par. Women-owned businesses are outnumbered 2 to 1 by businesses owned by men, and businesses owned by women generate only 19 cents of revenue for every $1 produced by businesses owned by men. Nearly 90 percent of the businesses women own are sole proprietorships with no additional employees. For male-owned businesses, it’s 77 percent.

The Change the Story VT report says that more data are needed to better understand the differences between male-and female-owned businesses:

  • Why do women have proportionally more sole proprietorships?
  • Why do their revenues lag so far behind male-owned businesses?
  • Why are women-owned businesses underrepresented in industry sectors that typically generate high revenues?

The answers to those questions could be helpful, especially if they lead to more employment. There are about 10,000 fewer people working in Vermont today—either self-employed or on someone’s payroll—than there were 10 years ago.

As Change the Story VT points out, understanding the obstacles that hamper women from owning or expanding their own businesses will help the state “make the most of Vermont’s entrepreneurial talent.”

Posted by Stephanie Yu on November 3, 2016 at 4:23 pm

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