by Kimberly Schramm 

In her presentation at the NAWBO-OC Dinner Meeting on May 6, Diane Weklar of the Weklar Business Institute shared statistics about who today’s small business founders are.

It seems like most of the news stories about business founders focus on the wunderkind phenomenon – the Zuckerbergs of the world founding businesses in their dorm rooms and doing an IPO before getting their BAs.  While it’s true there are many successful young entrepreneurs, there’s much more to the story.

I was happy to learn that one quarter of new businesses are currently founded by seniors. Senior citizens, that is, not college or high school seniors.  Inspired by that fact, I did some further research on my own to get a better understanding of who the modern entrepreneur really is.

I’m not surprised to find that more women than ever are starting their own businesses.  However, I was surprised by the sheer volume of female entrepreneur activity.  Between 1997 and 2014, the number of women starting businesses increased 68 per cent.  In 2014, a woman owned business is started almost every minute.  That’s impressive.

As a matter of fact, this strong growth in women’s entrepreneurship has been called “the new women’s movement.”  Women are leaving the workplace in droves to start home-based businesses.  One of the primary drivers of this trend is not innovative business ideas but the desire to avoid the negatives women perceive in the corporate world.

For that reason, women owned businesses tend to be small, with most having fewer than five employees.  Women today are intent on creating a life that works for them – balancing the need for career fulfillment with raising a family and producing an income.

Younger women in particular, inspired by the success of high profile women like Oprah and Tory Burch, are deciding to strike out on their own. Older women are leaving the workforce, too.  Many have decided to pursue entrepreneurial dreams they put off when they were younger.  Others find themselves victims of the recession, and opt for starting their own businesses instead of battling it out in a competitive job market.

This trend is not limited to the US.  In fact, women in less developed countries are embracing entrepreneurship as the path to greater economic and personal freedom.  Across Asia and Latin American, women are creating successful businesses, lifting themselves, their families, and maybe even their countries out of poverty.

Kimberly Schramm
Kimberly Schramm, owner of Like A Boomerang, is a Certified Inbound Marketer who helps her clients develop and implement strategies to target prospects and deliver their messages in a variety of media, online and offline.