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SBA: Small Businesses With Equal Male/Female Ownership Employ Nearly 8 Million Workers

  • SBA Office of Advocacy releases report on equally-owned businesses, where ownership is split evenly between men and women
  • These businesses made up just 15.7 percent of employer small businesses in 2018, but still employed nearly 8 million people
  • Equally-owned businesses tend to be family-owned, well-established, and concentrated in retail, real estate, and accommodation and food services

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Firms where ownership is equally split between men and women account for a small but significant share of the small business economy, according to recent data from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

There were 860,754 equally-owned businesses (EOBs) in 2018, employing 7.97 million workers with $280 billion in annual payroll. EOBs also generated $1.3 trillion in annual sales receipts.

EOBs made up 15.7 percent of employer businesses in the small business economy in 2018 and accounted for 12.6 percent of small business employment. Male-owned businesses accounted for 63.6 percent of all firms and 71.5 percent of all employment, while female-owned businesses accounted for 20.8 percent of firms and 16 percent of employment.

  • Nearly all of EOBs had fewer than 100 employees, with 91.6 percent of annual receipts generated by companies with fewer than 500 employees
  • Almost 9 in 10 EOBs were family-owned businesses
  • EOBs were more prominent in retail trade, accommodation and food services, and real estate, rental, and leasing compared to other companies
  • Accommodation and food service, health care, and retail account for 46 percent of all employment by EOBs
  • EOBs in 2018 included 108,888 firms employing 1.83 million people, 62,339 health care and social assistance companies employing 946,311 people, and 126,131 retailers employing 927,844 people
  • 47 percent of EOBs were considered mature firms, with at least 11 years in operation

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