Women-owned businesses growing exploding in SC

Greenville NewsApril 1, 2014 

Piggy bank

 

ANDREI TCHERNOV

— More South Carolina women are opting to be their own bosses.

The number of women-owned firms in the state grew to 114,500 or 78.3 percent between 1997 and 2014, according to the fourth annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express Open.

The number of women-owned businesses nationwide has increased 68 percent to more than 9 million, the report said.

South Carolina ranked sixth in the nation for its of growth in women-owned firms. Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Nevada, and Mississippi, respectively, were the top five states with the fastest growth in the number of those firms.

Randi Schochet, American Express OPEN vice president of brand strategy and activation, said this year’s report “clearly shows that women are choosing the path of entrepreneurship at record rates.”

Nationwide, nearly 1,300 new businesses are being started by women each day, twice the rate from three years ago, the report said.

Janet W. Christy, business counselor at the SC Women’s Business Center in Greer, said that based on her clients and people who attend the center’s workshops, women-owned businesses are increasing, partly because women want more flexibility and control of their schedules.

She also attributes the increase to a desire by women for more economic autonomy. Business ownership can give them that autonomy, she said.

And, Christy said, “the confidence in women that they can be successful at business ownership is increasing, both in the number of women who feel confident and the level of confidence in individual women.”

Kim Becherer, owner of The Ryan Nicholas Inn, 815 Holland Road, Simpsonville, said “when you own your own business, the sky’s the

Deborah Sullivan, owner of Consign Werks consignment in Greenville, said being your own boss is “a bit challenging,” but at the same time, “it’s very, very rewarding.”

“You get an idea, you put it to work and then when you see it manifest, it’s a wonderful thing,” said Sullivan, whose business recently expanded into its current space on 1440 Laurens Road since opening in late 2012.

Ninety-two percent of the women business owners surveyed for a report commissioned by the National Association of Women Business Owners and Web.com Group Inc. predict that more women will start their own business this year — an 8 percent jump over 2013, said Billie Dragoo, NAWBO’S national board chair.

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