Shannon Nickinson: More women are starting businesses, helping local economies

In the Pensacola area, more and more women are starting businesses of their own.

Forbes reports that one-fourth of all businesses in the country are owned by women and that a rising number of women-owned businesses are topping the $1 million mark.

Nationally women own 36 percent of businesses. In the Pensacola metro area, 38.5 percent of firms are owned by women. Women are equal owners in another 7.7 percent of Pensacola’s businesses.

Of the 14,718 businesses led or co-owned by women in the two-county area, 2,172 have paid employees.

Those businesses support 17,124 jobs in the Pensacola area’s economy.

However, a whopping 10,885 of those women-owned businesses don’t have paid employees — they are self-employed women fueling Pensacola’s small business economy.

Geri Stengel at Forbes says research shows that when women own businesses, they do it differently than men.

They are more likely to set up their business pursuits to support social change, to align those business pursuits with their values than men, and are more likely to give back to their communities through philanthropy than men.

Pensacola knows that well, thanks to the women of IMPACT 100, which has since 2005 given $7.2 million to 56 nonprofits to improve the quality of life in the Pensacola metro area.

Women, research suggests, put their money where they feel it will do the most good — for their families and for their communities.

The inaugural EntreCon entrepreneurship convention that the Studer Community Institute hosted at the Rex Theatre was a great object lesson in this.

Women held their own among our keynote speakers — from Emily Ley to Celeste Beatty to Chandra Bell and Christa Pitts.

These women all made their own way, building a business out of their passion. As they found success, they have kept their integrity, been smart about managing their brand and brought other women onto their teams.

What was cooler than that? The number of women in the audience at EntreCon, seeking the support and practical advice they need to bring their own business dream to life or to grow the enterprise they’ve already started.


Shannon Nickinson is a fellow at the Studer Community Institute, a Pensacola nonprofit dedicated to using journalistic strategies to improve the quality of life in the community, and is editor of Follow her on Twitter @snickinson. Column courtesy of Context Florida.  


Shannon Nickinson


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