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Shaheen Releases Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship

Women are creating businesses five times faster than the national average; more than 11 million women-owned businesses represent 39 percent of all U.S. firms 

Women-owned businesses grow slower and earn less revenue than male-owned firms 

Women entrepreneurs have fewer role models, face gender pay gap and unequal access to startup funding

Original interviews with 14 women entrepreneurs across technology, business and non-profit sectors

(Washington, DC) – Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, today released a new report on the state of women’s entrepreneurship in the United States. 

“Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive” examines the intersecting financial, cultural and structural obstacles facing women entrepreneurs in 2017 and includes original interviews with a diverse group of 14 women CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs.

Women are the future of entrepreneurship, creating new businesses at a rate five times faster than the national average.  Thirty years ago, there were approximately 4 million women-owned businesses in the United States.  Today, there are more than 11 million women-owned businesses – representing 39 percent of all firms.  However, women-owned businesses grow at a slower rate and earn less revenue than male-owned firms. 

Shaheen said: “Women are at the center of the American economy.  They are creating new businesses, disrupting established industries and developing innovative products at a record pace.  Despite the progress, women entrepreneurs face persistent institutional barriers that make achieving financial parity with male entrepreneurs a serious challenge with lasting consequences.” 

Among the factors that hold women entrepreneurs back, the report found:

  • Few role models and a lack of mentors for women entrepreneurs contributes to the perception that entrepreneurship is a male-only endeavor; 
  • A gender pay gap that is a lifelong hurdle for women entrepreneurs with far-reaching career and earning implications;
  • Unequal access to startup funding and financing streams that leave women with fewer credit options and a small portion of venture capital.


“Understanding and addressing the challenges facing women entrepreneurs can produce economic growth for the country and unleash the potential of women-led businesses,” Shaheen added.  “I hope this report advances the national conversation around gender and helps more women entrepreneurs succeed.”

“Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive” features new interviews with female entrepreneurs who share their business journey and how they overcame adversity on the way to building successful companies, including:

Joan Fallon, Curemark

Elizabeth Gore, Dell Technologies

Felena Hanson, Hera Hub

Sarah Kauss, S’well

Ashley Kosharek, AMK Cleaning Services

Katherine Krug, BetterBack

Lisa Price, Carol’s Daughter

Carolyn Rodz, Alice

Reshma Saujani, Girls Who Code

Krystal Shaw, Random Rompers

Cheryl Snead, Banneker Industries

Sue Sylvester, Absolute Resource Associates

Susan Tynan, Framebridge

Ann-Erica Whitemarsh, Rascal Rodeo


The report highlights a variety of initiatives to nurture entrepreneurship among women, as well as public and private sector recommendations to reduce gender bias and support the growth of women-led businesses. 

The Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship report, “Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive” is available HERE.