Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane ranked highly for female entrepreneurs

Nationally, though, barriers to securing capital persist

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As a fast-growing city, Spokane provides a rich environment for small business growth, particularly for women and minority-owned businesses.

With over 11,500 women-owned businesses in Spokane County, the Lilac City has been ranked as a top city for female entrepreneurs. In addition, Spokane has been recognized nationally as a great place to live because of its affordability, job opportunities, and recreational options. Appreciation for the city’s entrepreneur-friendly focus and high quality of life is quickly broadening.

To better understand this thriving community of women business owners on a national level, Bank of America surveyed more than 500 women across the country to gain insights into their aspirations and concerns, as well as similarities and differences between their male peers.

Bank of America’s 2019 Women Business Owner Spotlight found confidence in future revenue growth is at a four-year high among women entrepreneurs, and 73% of women business owners plan to expand their business in the next year. 

This trend is reflected in Spokane, the second-largest city in Washington, which as a state ranks in the top 10 for economic clout – a combination of growth rates for the number of women-owned firms in employment and revenue – over the last five years.

Women entrepreneurs are taking action, but not without facing difficulties. This year’s report examined women’s experiences regarding access to capital. More than half of women entrepreneurs say they don’t have the same access to capital as male counterparts and approximately a third say it will take time—about 14 years on average—to achieve equal access to capital. Nearly a quarter of women business owners say women will never have equal access.

When reflecting upon personal experiences and broader trends, more than half of women business owners identified external factors like experiencing adversity, obtaining a college degree, and having a mentor as a contributor to their success as a business owner. When asked for the character trait that has had the greatest impact on their success, women entrepreneurs identified integrity as the top attribute, closely followed by perseverance.

Looking to the future, women business owners agree that having more women in positions of influence would be most impactful in paving the way for the next generation of women in business. 

Bank of America is committed to helping women succeed. Whether it’s creating opportunities for women to grow their careers as employees of the bank or our Private Bank Women and Wealth offerings to address the needs of women managing wealth, we are working with women to create the solutions that ignite and accelerate their potential.

As women continue to be a driving force in Spokane, we have an opportunity to change the way business operates by working together, learning from each other, combining our resources and inspiring growth.

For more findings from Bank of America’s 2019 Women Business Owner Spotlight, listen to our recent podcast, The Heartbeat of Main Street, recorded from our Spotlight event.

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