One week ago, we shared some of the important events, both recent and upcoming, that Indy Women in Tech and Women & Hi Tech are engaged in. The missions include introducing more young people to the STEM disciplines, enhancing diversity in the business community and providing women with the resources they need to be successful.

There is no shortage of anecdotal stories demonstrating the progress. Today, we offer some numbers on female entrepreneurship courtesy of Startup Nation. As is often the case surrounding this topic, there is plenty of momentum – but also a long way to go.

  • Between 1997 and 2017, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 114%. That is two and a half times higher than the national average of overall business growth at 44%. Women of color own 71% of the new women-owned businesses that are launched.
  • In 2017, 11.6 million U.S. businesses were owned by women. They employed nearly 9 million people and generated more than $1.7 trillion in revenue. Good news: The 11.6 million is 39% of all businesses, compared to 26% in 1997. Bad news: The share of employment and revenues from women-owned firms is only at 8% and 4%, respectively.
  • Women cite the following challenges: Lack of capital and cash flow (73%), shortage of mentors or advisors (48%) and not enough of a support system (31%). NOTE: People with access to a mentor(s) are five times more likely to start a business than those who don’t and 12% more likely to still be in business after one year.
  • Whether due to a lack of funds or employees or other reasons, women are more likely than men to work a “second shift” in the evening and to operate their businesses from their home.

Those who took part in this national survey, however, are optimistic about both their personal situations and the future of women-owned businesses. Women with established businesses rate their well-being 1.6 times higher than their male counterparts and three times higher than women who aren’t entrepreneurs.

Seventy-eight percent of female entrepreneurs believe they have achieved work-life balance and two out of three think there will be more women-owned small businesses (compared to those owned by men) in the next 20 years.

Do you know what we look forward to? It’s the day when we can just talk about entrepreneurs – and not have to divide the discussion into gender or other factors. Let’s hope that day comes sooner rather than later.