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Women-Owned Firms Leading New Business Growth

Are you an entrepreneurial mama? According to new U.S. Census data, that's a very likely scenario — the number of self-employed women and businesses created by women entrepreneurs that employ others accounted for about one-third of the nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S. by 2012.

The big picture? Although small business growth overall has been slow at around two percent, women-owned businesses have been growing at a much faster rate — around 27 percent according to a preliminary analysis of Census data released this week.

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Is it because the recession caused women to lose their jobs and they had to find other ways to support their families? Motherhood is definitely a new kind of motivation! Carla Harris (pictured above with Cambridge College president Deborah Jackson and Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker), chairwoman of the National Women's Business Council, told the Wall Street Journal that at least for many women of color, job loss during the recession caused them to start businesses.

The awesome news for mompreneurs who are also women of color: businesses owned by Hispanic women jumped 87 percent between 2007 and 2012, and 68 percent for African-American women-owned businesses during the same period, according to analysis by the National Women's Business Council.

The bad news: Although women now own more than one-third of existing businesses, their businesses are smaller than male-owned businesses and tend to employ fewer employees. And, according to accounting firm EY, only about two percent of women-owned businesses broke the $1 million revenue mark in 2014; firms owned by men were 3.5 times more likely to hit that same revenue mark.

Still, census data shows growth in both self-employed women and women-owned firms. And although Harris told the WSJ that women face more growth challenges, such as access to capital and other obstacles, that doesn't seem to be stopping women entrepreneurs from entering the race. The number of overall startups each year between 2008 and 2012 exceeded the number of businesses dying and closing their doors. Women-owned businesses continue growing their share of the startup pie.

The best states for women-owned businesses to succeed? The list from the National Women's Business Council may surprise you. Delaware, Alaska, North Dakota, Maine and New Jersey have the highest percentage of women-ownership (defined as women owning 51 percent or more of the business), and the states with the highest average receipts for women-owned businesses include the District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico and Florida.

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Photography by: Instagram

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