Women Entrepreneurs Could Revolutionize Economy

Dec 22, 2014

Carrie Ford, director of communications and development at the Arkansas Venture Center, talks with Roby Brock.
Credit Talk Business & Politics

A new study from the Kauffman Foundation centered on women entrepreneurship concluded that more female business owners could have the same economic impact today that the entry of women in the 20th century labor force had generations ago.

The report from the Kansas City-based nonprofit showed women-owned businesses account for only about 16% of the nation’s employer firms. Among high-growth firms, women account for fewer than 10% of founders. It also indicated that women experience a greater financing gap than men do.

Nearly 80% of women business owners used personal savings as their top funding source, even though 31% of them had angel investors and 14% had venture capital funding, the report found.

Tifany Hamlin, CEO of eZDiscovery Solutions, started her company with partner Meredith Causey less than two years ago. The firm helps companies involved in litigation navigate the discovery process of legal proceedings using electronic documents. eZDiscovery Solutions helps research electronic documents more effectively, saving thousands of dollars in typical legal document research fees.

Hamlin said the study was spot-on in many respects, except for the mentorship piece, which the Kauffman report said was lacking for female entrepreneurs.

"I could relate to everything in it [the report] except the mentorship piece. I think a lot of that is simply because we are in central Arkansas and the networking here is phenomenal," said Hamlin, a guest on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics.

Director of communications and development at the Arkansas Venture Center Carrie Ford said the study touched on it, but she’s seen it thousands of times in her own business experience.

"Women are very risk-averse," said Ford of one of the biggest barriers to more female business startups entering the marketplace. "I would say with the social support and a place like the Venture Center and a very calculated plan, just come just explore."

You can watch Ford’s and Hamlin’s full roundtable interview in the video below.