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Women-owned businesses up 38 percent in Seattle since 2007

(KIRO 7)

An annual report points to a massive uptick in women-owned businesses, both across the country and in Washington state.

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According to American Express’s 2018 “State of Women-Owned Businesses” report, the number of women-owned businesses in Washington state has gone up 32 percent since 2007. The rate for Seattle over that span is 38 percent.

Over that period, there’s been a 57 percent increase in women-owned businesses nationwide, and a 163 percent increase for women of color.

“Over the past 11 years, women of color have been the driving force behind the growth of women-owned businesses,” the report reads. “Maximizing their contributions is key to a stronger and healthier economy overall, job creation in local communities and upward economic mobility for women of color and their families.”

One trend business coaches are seeing contributing to that jump has been women in their 50s and 60s either choosing early retirement or starting their own businesses. Business coach Kimberly Smith told KIRO 7 TV that over the last four years, she’s counseled 68 women, 40 of whom left their careers to become entrepreneurs and start a business of their own.

That includes women like Karen Koenig, a financial advisor, speaker and author. She worked six years as a mid-level manager in aerospace after 26 years in the military. She decided to make a change when she was denied flex-time after her teenage daughter fell ill.

“I wanted to be able to have control over my schedule,” Koenig told KIRO 7.

American Express’s report also ranks cities on what it calls “city employment vitality,” denoting employment growth between 2007 and 2018. Seattle ranked 7th in the nation, right ahead of Oklahoma City, and directly behind Austin, Texas. San Antonio took the top spot on the list.

The report noted that “job-creating women-owned businesses flourished in states and cities not traditionally thought of as entrepreneurial hubs.”

States with the lowest employment vitality include California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Alabama.

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