Georgia is known for its history, beautiful weather and Southern charm, but in recent years has also gained renown as a hotbed for new business development. Atlanta ranks at #7 in the nation for number of metropolitan area businesses, up from #8 last year. Further proof of this can be seen in a report on the large growth of women-owned businesses in the state. Georgia has an estimated 308,200 businesses owned by women, more than half of them located in Atlanta. These businesses alone contribute $44 billion in revenue for the state of Georgia, making them important contributors to the state’s economy.
Throughout the past 15 years, Georgia has nearly doubled the national growth rate of women-owned businesses, and the numbers show no signs of slowing. One of the primary reasons behind the rise is our nation’s aging population and resulting increase in health and social services. A majority of businesses owned by women in Georgia are centered on health care and social assistance, two areas which are only going to grow as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age. Georgia has also seen an explosion of new enterprises by African American women. With an increase of as much as 258% in the past 15 years, it reflects a rise in opportunities for minority business owners as well.
Besides the health and social services sectors, other types of women-owned businesses include private schools, cosmetology training schools and beauty salons. Bakeries, catering and other services are not far behind. These are all industries which are driven by demand by the local market, and indicate that there is a substantial demand for these and other services within the area. These businesses are fulfilling important roles, both for the local population and Georgia’s overall economy.
The rise in female owned businesses also reflects an attitude shift in how these potential businesses are perceived. While once business ownership was associated with men, the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs like Atlantan Sara Blakely of Spanx, continue to inspire future female business owners, and demonstrate to investors that there are many potential new businesses, especially in niches unique to women, that have yet to be discovered.
A Business Leader in the South
Georgia is sometimes called the Empire State of the South. The proven economic strengths and contributions of women business owners in the state, whether in starting a new businesses, buying a business, or pursuing other entrepreneurial goals, is yet another example of how Georgia takes the economic lead in this region on the country.