Women-Owned Businesses Enjoy Growth

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Women-owned businesses in Oklahoma City and nationwide are growing at a much faster pace than the overall economy, according to a report released Wednesday.

The number of area female-owned firms increased 56 percent between 1987 and 1996. Employment by those firms grew 167 percent over that period, and their sales soared 231 percent.

The 35,900 women-owned firms in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area as of 1996 employed 63,600 workers and generated more than $7 billion in annual sales, according to the report from the National Foundation of Women Business Owners. The report, "1996 Facts on Women-owned Businesses: Trends in the Top 50 Metropolitan Areas," was sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank. Oklahoma City ranked: * 49th in the top 50 metropolitan areas in the number, employment and sales of women firms. * 42nd in terms of the percent growth. * 19th in percent share of women-owned firms for 1996. Women-owned firms accounted for 38 percent of all companies in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. They employed 21 percent of all workers and generated 17 percent of all business sales. Gains by women-owned firms nationwide from 1987-96 were similar to those in the Oklahoma City area. The number of firms owned by women nationwide increased 78 percent during the period, with their employment up 183 percent and their sales rising 236 percent. "This substantial growth in both sales and employment of women- owned businesses shows how significant they are to the economic health of their local communities," said Susan Peterson, chair of the National Federation of Women Business Owners. Nationally, there were nearly 8 million women-owned businesses with 18.5 million employees and sales of $2.3 trillion. The study was based on U.S. Census data from 1987-92, projecting trends to 1996. …