Home News Walmart, Partners Release Unprecedented Women Economic Impact Study

Walmart, Partners Release Unprecedented Women Economic Impact Study

Women-owned firms have $3 trillion economic impact, employ 16 percent of all U.S. jobs.

WASHINGTON D.C., October 2, 2009 – Walmart, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) and the Center for Women’s Business Research (CfWBR), have unveiled a first-of-its-kind economic impact study detailing the total impact of women-owned small businesses in the United States. The study was released during today’s Women’s Economic Summit, convened by Walmart and WIPP, in Washington DC.

Approximately 300 prominent women business owners, female corporate executives, high-level government leaders, key members of minority organizations and other critical stakeholders attended the Walmart/WIPP Women’s Economic Summit. In addition to the study results, participants discussed the condition, impact and direction of women-owned business with the aim of providing immediate tangible tools for growth and shared learning. A full agenda can be found at www.wipp.org.

“It’s no secret that the female business owner and customer are at the center of Walmart’s push to save people money so they can live better,” said Esther Silver-Parker, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs, Walmart. “This summit allows us to share some of what we have learned about this influential block of voters, shoppers, and entrepreneurs while gaining unprecedented insight into some of the ways Walmart and others can help serve this important group. Judging from today’s data, women have been, and will be, a key driver to economic recovery.”

“The survey results demonstrate clearly that women business owners are playing a leading role in the economic recovery of our nation,” said Barbara Kasoff, President of Women Impacting Public Policy. “More importantly, it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we continue to invest in their growth, they will change the economic landscape of our country.”

In 2009, the National Women’s Business Council, the Center for Women’s Business Research and Walmart commissioned an extensive, groundbreaking study of U.S. women business owners to quantify their economic impact and identify the needs of women entrepreneurs. The study reveals that U.S. women-owned businesses represent a vital component of the economy, responsible for trillions in revenue and millions of employment opportunities nationwide. Key findings of the unprecedented study include:

  • Women-owned firms have an economic impact of nearly $3 trillion.
  • Women-owned businesses produce employment for 23 million people, 16 percent of all U.S. jobs. (direct and indirect)
  • If they were their own country, women-owned businesses would have the 5th largest world GDP.

“Women-owned firms employ or generate a total of 16% of the jobs in our nation's economy,” said Gwen Martin, executive director and director of research for the Center for Women’s Business Research. “Job creation is desperately needed in our country today. A job not only supports a worker, it provides for a family, and creates purchasing power that supports local and national economies.”

“The National Women’s Business Council is proud to be a sponsor of this ground-breaking research,” stated NWBC Executive Director Margaret Barton. “In our role as advisors to the President, Congress, and SBA, the Council depends on this type of current data to make immediate fact-based policy recommendations to support the women’s business community.”

You can view the complete study at www.nfwbo.org. Some additional facts concerning women-owned business are attached in appendix A.

A webcast archive of the summit will be available at www.sbtv.com starting the week of October 12th. Notable speakers include Mike Duke, CEO, Walmart; Barbara Kasoff, President, Women Impacting Public Policy; Margaret Barton, Executive Director, National Women’s Business Council and Gwen Martin, Director of Research, Center for Women’s Business Research and others.

In an effort to continue the dialogue and action from the summit, Walmart will publish a summary white paper in Spring 2010. The document will be made available to all Sam’s Club women business members, and members of Congress as a resource for their constituents.


About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), or “Walmart,” serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,000 retail units under 53 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2009 sales of $401 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.1 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine’s 2009 Most Admired Companies survey. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.

Ed. Note: Walmart is the legal trade name of the corporation. The name "Walmart," expressed as one word and without punctuation, is a trademark of the company and is used analogously to describe the company and its stores. Use the trade name when it is necessary to identify the legal entity, such as when reporting financial results, litigation or corporate governance.

About Women Impacting Public Policy
Women Impacting Public Policy is a national bi-partisan group comprising over half a million members. The non-profit organization is the public policy voice for 49 national Women in Business groups and is The Voice for Women in Business in Our Nation’s Capital. WIPP strengthens its members’ sphere of influence in the legislative process, creates economic opportunities for members and builds alliances with other small business organizations. Visit www.wipp.org.

About The National Women’s Business Council
The National Women’s Business Council is a bi-partisan Federal government council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. Members of the Council are prominent women business owners and leaders of women’s business organizations. For more information about the Council, its mission and activities, visit www.nwbc.gov.

About The Center for Women’s Business Research
The Center for Women’s Business Research provides data-driven knowledge that advances the economic, social and political impact of women business owners and their enterprises. We do this by setting the national agenda; creating insight on the status and achievements of women business owners; altering perceptions about the economic viability and progress of women-owned enterprises; and driving awareness of the economic and social impact of this vital business sector. Find out more online at www.womensbusinessresearch.org.





Facts about U.S. women-owned business:

Economic Impact

  • U.S.-based women-owned businesses have a total economic impact projection of nearly $3 trillion. If U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have the 5th largest GDP in the world, trailing closely behind Germany, and ahead of countries including France, United Kingdom and Italy.
  • Women-owned firms produce employment for more than 23 million people in the United States or 16 percent of the overall 2008 U.S.-workforce. Approximately eight percent of the total labor force is directly employed by a women-owned firm, even though more than 80 percent of women-owned businesses are not employer firms.


  • Women-owned businesses have been outpacing the growth of all firms for at least two decades. Between 2000 and 2008 the number of majority women-owned firms grew 11%, the number of their employees grew 2%, and revenues increased 12%.
  • Between 1997 and 2002, an average of 424 new women-owned firms were started every day, translating into nearly 775,000 start-ups per year and accounting for fully 55 percent of new firm start-ups.


  • One in five firms with revenues of $1 million or more is woman-owned. 3% of all women-owned firms have revenues of $1 million or more compared with 6% of all men-owned firms.


  • Women-owned firms operate and succeed in many industries. Top industries for women’s business ownership include: professional, scientific or technical services (20.9%); retail or wholesale (13.4%); business services (11%); administrative, support or waste remediation services (10.8%); and health and social assistance (8.6%).


  • An estimated one in five women-owned businesses is owned by a woman or women of color. As of 2006, there are an estimated 2.4 million firms owned 50% or more by women of color in the U.S. These firms employ 1.6 million people and generate nearly $230 billion in sales annually.
  • After selling their business, 22% of women business owners plan to own another business.


  • Despite the growth and successes seen by women business owners, they still face many challenges, including: escalating cost of health care, managing taxes, accessing new markets, finding and training qualified workers, securing federal contracts, and accessing capital.
  • Access to capital continues to be a challenge for women business owners. Of those women business owners who obtain capital, it takes them four attempts on average to get bank loans/lines of credit and 22 attempts to get equity capital.
  • As of 2008, the federal government had not reached its goal of awarding 5% of contracts to women-owned businesses. In FY 2008, 3.4% of federal contract dollars were spent with women-owned businesses – a share which is basically unchanged since FY 2006.

*Source: The Center for Women’s Business Research and The National Women’s Business Council