By Vanessa Wagner, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager
The gender gap is closing in entrepreneurship. According to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Business report, between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45 percent, a rate that is 5 times the national average of a 9 percent increase among all U.S. businesses. Here in our community, the U.S. Business Database lists more than 3,500 female executives in Loudoun businesses.
This growth of women-owned companies is attributed to a variety of factors, including greater access to female-focused entrepreneurship networks, female-led venture capital firms, and mentors. Additionally, there have been upward trends in the ethnic diversity of women startup founders.
The DMV continues to be an excellent place to launch a new business, but particularly for women. Last year Business Insider ranked Washington, D.C. in the top 10 locations for women because of access to funding and talent. Support in the region is plentiful, including female-led investment opportunities such as WE Capital and The Vinetta Project. Both programs seek to support the next generation of female entrepreneurs through investment, connections and mentorship.
Support is not limited to commercial ventures in the region. For example, Virginia Agri-Women launched in Loudoun to help grow businesses related to agriculture in the commonwealth. Also, Empowered Women International seeks to empower women facing social and economic challenges through entrepreneurship. Resources and women-centered communities are plentiful in the region and beyond.
In Loudoun County we work to support all entrepreneurs by identifying and connecting them to resources to help them launch and grow. You can learn more about regional resource partners that provide services specifically to female-led ventures on LoudounSmallBiz.org.