Maine doesn’t have the greatest number of businesses owned by women in the country. And those women-led firms don’t create the most total revenue, out of all other states. That’s because our population is relatively small.
But what we lack in size, we make up in effort. When you look at the revenue growth generated by women-owned firms over the last few years, Maine is No. 1.
Between 2007 and 2016, the revenue of women-owned firms in Maine grew 214 percent, according to a new review called the “2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report,” commissioned by American Express OPEN. The report estimates sales in 2016 were $11,122,200, up from $3,541,893 in 2007.
North Dakota, with its recent oil boom, was No. 2, with 145.1-percent revenue growth among women-owned firms in that time.
Meanwhile, Maine saw just a 14.3-percent increase in the total number of women-owned firms, marking it 50th among the states and Washington D.C. New Hampshire was 51st in total women-owned business growth.
The report largely focuses on the economic trends that have occurred since the 2007-2009 recession and does not get into why the growth has happened.
But business activity has been strong in southern Maine.
“There’s such a positive trajectory of entrepreneurship in Portland, and there’s a critical mass of women-owned businesses,” Juliet Browne, an environmental and energy attorney at Verrill Dana, and chairwoman of the Women Presidents’ Organization, told the BDN in December.
Since the recession years, the number and revenue of women-owned firms has continued to increase faster than the national average.
Nationally, between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned businesses increased 45 percent, compared with just 9 percent among all businesses. Meanwhile, their revenue growth since 2007 — at 35 percent — surpassed all firms, too, which saw 27-percent growth.
Women are now majority owners of 38 percent of businesses in the U.S., up from 29 percent in 2007, according to the report. Yet they employ just 8 percent of the nation’s private sector workers, up from 6 percent in 2007.
The report’s data come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners from 2002, 2007 and 2012, which were extrapolated toward 2016, while factoring in relative changes in gross domestic product data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.