Are NJ’s Female Business Owners Struggling?
Shore-area Chambers of Commerce disagree that women-owned companies in the U.S. and New Jersey are struggling to grow more than those owned by men, according to a national report out this month from the U.S Women's Chamber of Commerce.
The report is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
In New Jersey, there are 252,944 firms owned by women, which make up 32 percent of all businesses. Female-owned companies in the Garden State employ 261,891 people, or 13 percent of the state's workforce. Those firms generate $49.5 billion, or 4 percent of in-state business revenue. In contrast, there are 464,592 male-owned firms in New Jersey, which employ 1,354,783 people, or 29 percent of the workforce. Those firms generate $343.9 billion, or 27.9 percent of in-state business revenue, the data shows.
The report cited economic pressures and a lack of confidence with limiting female owners' ability to grow their companies. At least two Jersey Shore groups believe they are bucking that trend.
"I think that the women that own businesses in Ocean County actually are very strong and independent business owners. I think that they run exceptional businesses and manage their staffs quite well. I think that in every business that there has to be a strategy and there has to be steps in place to continue growth, and we certainly believe in programs that are going to help women do that," said Lori Pepenella, destination marketing and communications director for the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce.
Pepenella said a large portion of the Southern Ocean County Chamber's membership includes women who own and operate businesses as well as female managers who are proficient at what they do, and add a lot to the community by giving back and providing quality services.
Michele Eventoff, executive director of the Brick Township Chamber of Commerce shares Pepenella's sentiment about the report's findings, and doesn't see women business owners struggling among her members.
"I would say that the businesses owned by women are on absolutely equal footing with men. I see no difference," Eventoff said.
Eventoff believes women can compete equally with male-owned businesses and that the challenges in the workplace are very much the same, regardless of gender.
"I don't see them struggling. I don't see them not taking the lead. We have a lot of women who are in leadership positions within the Chamber of Commerce, so certainly they do step up and they do take leadership positions and make opinions known," Eventoff said.
The Brick Chamber doesn't offer any programs specifically geared toward women, because they don't see a need for it, according to Eventoff.
"Our women business owners are equally involved in our programs, the networking, the education, everything that we do, the advertising, equal representation, so we haven't had a need or a request, or when we survey our members, there hasn't come forth a need to have such programs," Eventoff said.