Every five years, the U.S. Census completes an extensive Survey of Business Owners (SBO) that examines businesses by the gender of the business owner(s). This is the only comprehensive, regularly collected source of information on the economic and demographic characteristics of businesses across the country by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status. The SBO is authorized by Title 13 of the United States Code and responses are mandatory. The data on women-owned businesses provided by the Census is the main source of demographic information used by the NWBC.
The 2007 data was fully released in June 2011, so the NWBC commissioned a private research company to study this data in-depth. The data will be analyzed by different characteristics to further expand the current understanding of women-owned businesses and to search for any interesting or unique findings that bear further study. It is only with a firm understanding of the current state of businesses that the NWBC can begin to probe more deeply into other areas of interest.
This project will be completed in January 2012, but this preliminary report offers some key findings, including: