Better Together: Nashville’s Women Entrepreneurs Shattering Glass Ceilings

A bi-weekly column exploring the intersection of entrepreneurship and community by Sam Davidson

In the heart of Nashville and across the United States, women are not just participating in the entrepreneurial landscape; they are transforming it. 

Yet, they aren’t seeing the same levels of revenue or capital as their male counterparts despite the value they offer. 

Proof is in the data. Here’s a 2024 Snapshot of women-owned businesses:

  • 42% of U.S. businesses are women-owned, employing 9.4 million and generating $1.9 trillion annually.
  • Daily, over 1,800 new women-owned businesses are created.
  • The top goal for these businesses is increased funding; women’s loan sizes are 50% lower than men’s.
  • A mere 2.4% of U.S. venture capital goes to female founders.
  • 31% of these owners juggle entrepreneurship with raising school-aged children.

Value Offered Despite Funding Barriers

While women-owned businesses are starting at more than double the national average for men, only a fraction surpass the revenue threshold of $1 million. The majority operate as solo ventures, highlighting a pressing need for enhanced support, access to capital, and networking opportunities.

Yet, studies, including a comprehensive 22-year analysis by Baylor University, affirm that women entrepreneurs often surpass their male counterparts in autonomy, positivity, aggression, common sense, critical thinking, and determination. Despite facing biases in funding and networking, female-owned firms generate higher revenues, create more jobs, and significantly improve company performance when in senior leadership roles.

Nashville’s Pioneering Women

Nashville has a series of women entrepreneurs that have cleared a path for owning a business. And there’s much to learn from these pioneering women and I encourage you to listen to their stories:

(And coming out March 12, 2024 Shirley Zeitlin’s story of resilience and integrity is sure to inspire. Subscribe to Circle Back wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss it.)

Fostering Growth and Community

Recognizing the unique hurdles women face, Nashville has cultivated a supportive ecosystem for female entrepreneurs. Organizations like National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Nashville chapter, Pathway Women’s Business Center and BrainTrust offer community and learning. They are pivotal in providing education, mentorship, advocacy, and ensuring women have the resources to thrive. Just last week, I was invited to BrainTrust’s filming of “Show Her The Money,” supporting women founders raising capital.

A Unified Call to Action

This Women’s History Month, let’s deepen our commitment to a supportive community where every woman entrepreneur can flourish. At Nashville Entrepreneur Center, we champion collaboration. When we lift up each other, we dismantle barriers, fostering a thriving space for women entrepreneurs.

The legacy of Nashville’s trailblazers isn’t just in their success but in the paths they’ve carved for future generations. This month, let’s honor them by promoting women’s entrepreneurial growth and empowerment.

Together, we are stronger. Together, we can achieve more for women entrepreneurs in Nashville and everywhere, ensuring a community where every woman can chart her own course to success.

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