Happiness Surging Among American Female Entrepreneurs

Study finds U.S. leads the world in entrepreneurial activity

One in 10 U.S. women are starting or running a new business, a study says. One in 10 U.S. women are starting or running a new business, a study says.

Established female business owners in the U.S. ranked their well-being more than twice as high as non-entrepreneurs and non-business owners, according to a new study issued Wednesday by Babson College and Baruch College.

The 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor U.S. Report found that one out of 10 women in the U.S. was starting or running a new business. This rate was higher than any of the other 24 developed economies measured in the report.

Moreover, the proportion of women who wanted to grow their businesses by more than five employees in the next five years increased from 31% in the 2012 study to 36% in 2013.

Overall, there were an estimated 3.7 million American women with growth-oriented businesses.

The study also found that gaps were greatest between women and men in the 35- to 44-year-old age range in entrepreneurship rates, intentions to start and perceptions of opportunities.

Men experienced peak levels of entrepreneurship rates and opportunity perceptions compared with women in this age category.

“Unquestionably, people who run their own businesses in the United States are very satisfied with their lives,” GEM U.S. Report’s lead author Donna Kelley, Babson College associate professor of entrepreneurship, said in a statement.

“Women entrepreneurs show a substantial boost in well-being as their businesses mature, demonstrating the personal return on investment that comes with venturing into entrepreneurship. Our research found that the benefits of entrepreneurship extend beyond economic and social value. Clearly, entrepreneurship provides women a most satisfying career choice.”

This 15th annual GEM survey of entrepreneurship around the world focused on 70 economies, examining how many individuals were participating in entrepreneurship, the types of businesses they were starting or operating and societal attitudes about entrepreneurship.

GEM is a not-for-profit academic research consortium focused on making information on global entrepreneurship activity widely available.

U.S. leads entrepreneurial activity

Nearly 13% of the U.S. population (some 25 million Americans) was in the process of starting or running a new business—the highest entrepreneurship rate reported among 25 developed economies surveyed from North America, Europe and Asia.

An estimated 7.7 million of these entrepreneurs projected employing five or more people in the next five years.

Most U.S. entrepreneurs start businesses to pursue an opportunity, according to the report. Still, rates of starting businesses out of necessity are persistently higher than before the 2008 recession.

Forty-seven percent of Americans believed there were good opportunities for starting a business, the highest level reported since the report began in 1999.

Fifty-six percent believed they had the capabilities to launch a business — a remarkably stable indicator despite recent fluctuations in the economic environment, the report said, and highest among the 25 developed economies assessed in the report.

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. entrepreneurs expected to employ six or more employees in the next five years.

More than one-third said they offered innovative products or services to new customers with few competitors.

The U.S. has the highest rate of entrepreneurship among 55- to 64-year-olds in the 25 developed economies surveyed.

Older entrepreneurs are supported by resources and positive attitudes. More than half come from the highest third of household income.

They are equally likely as younger Americans to see entrepreneurial opportunities and are less risk averse. And older entrepreneurs are more confident in their abilities to start businesses than those 18 to 44 years of age.

The study found that adults with more positive well-being scores were much more likely to perceive entrepreneurship opportunities.

Happiness levels among women entrepreneurs surge as their ventures mature.

Opportunity-based entrepreneurs were more satisfied with their lives, which they described as “excellent” and “close to ideal,” than those who did not become entrepreneurs.

Adult entrepreneurs with a positive outlook reported higher perceptions of entrepreneurial capabilities and lower fear-of-failure rates than those with lower well-being scores.

Despite these positive findings, the report found that U.S. entrepreneurs were missing opportunities for growth and globalization.

Only 11% reported that more than a quarter of their customers came from outside the U.S.

Less than 1% had more than 25% Canadian customers, and only 2% had that many Mexican customers.

Entrepreneurship in Four States

California has many international entrepreneurs and reports high levels of gender equality; still, necessity-driven entrepreneurship rates are also high.

In Michigan, entrepreneurship tends to attract men and people in mid-career. It has more manufacturing, but less international activity than is nationally reported.

New York shows high levels of youth participation, with fewer female than male entrepreneurs and a thriving business service sector.

Texas has wealthy, educated entrepreneurs with high-growth ambitions and an international scope.

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