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Are Women-Owned Businesses as Successful as Male-Owned Businesses?
by Bridget Weston
July 29, 2021

When it comes to success in the business world, is there a battle of the sexes?

SCORE’s Spring 2018 “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship” data report focuses on the success of women entrepreneurs.  Success was measured by business starts, revenue growth, longevity of the business, and job creation. SCORE surveyed over 20,000 entrepreneurs at various stages of the business lifecycle.

The first of three infographics on this data report answers the question: “Are women-owned businesses as successful as male-owned businesses?”

The survey found that in 2017, 47% of women started a business versus 44% of men. The industries men and women entered are very similar, with two out of three top industries for both being professional services and retail sales and trade. Men and women differed in the last industry though. Women were significantly more likely to own businesses in health care and social assistance, whereas men were more likely to own businesses in construction and manufacturing.

Success in Revenue

According to the survey, women and men are equally successful when it comes to revenue. About 59% of male entrepreneurs and 57% of female entrepreneurs predict revenue increases, 15.5% of both men and women predicting static revenue, and 9.5% of men and 9% of women predict a decrease in revenue this year.

Longevity of the Business

Men and women also show very little difference regarding longevity of their businesses. The largest variance is visible for those who have been in business 20 or more years with 17% of men and 13% of women. Twenty percent of men and 21% of women have been in business six to ten years, and 5% of male entrepreneurs and 4% of female entrepreneurs have been in businesses one year.

Number of Employees

Women-owned businesses and men-owned businesses are also similar when it comes to change in the number of their employees. Both men and women experienced the same 8% decrease in employees, while 30% of men and 27% of women saw an increase and 62% of male entrepreneurs and 65% of female entrepreneurs saw no change.


Overall, men- and women-owned businesses are succeeding—and struggling—at an almost identical rate. Of those entrepreneurs facing difficulty in their businesses, 33% were male and 34% were female. Thirty-two percent of men and 32% of women were maintaining the current size of their businesses, while 28% of men and 29% of women were moderately expanding in size and revenue. Meanwhile, 7% of men and 5% of women were aggressively expanding.

With almost 11 million women-owned small businesses operating across the United States, it’s important to recognize the force women bring to business. Even though women make up a large percentage of small US businesses, the gap between male and female-owned businesses is minimal when it comes to financing, revenue and hiring practices.

We hope to shed more light on these issues through Parts 2 and 3 of “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship” data report later this month.

About the author
Bridget Weston
Bridget Weston is the CEO of the SCORE Association, where she provides executive leadership and works directly and collaboratively with the Board of Directors to establish the vision and direction of SCORE.
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