Report: Michigan Lags Behind Other States in Growth of Women-Owned Businesses


Michigan is ranked 27th in the U.S. in terms of growth in the number of women-owned businesses, says an annual report commissioned by American Express. While there has been about a 57 percent increase in the number of women-owned businesses in the state since 1997, Michigan is below the national growth average of 74 percent.

“Even though more and more women are getting into business in the state, they’re not getting into business at the same rate as other states,” says Julie Weeks, author of the report and an American Express research adviser.

The report compares data from the U.S. Census Bureau over an 18-year period. Weeks found that there are about 290,000 women-owned firms in Michigan, which employee about 255,000 individuals and produce $33 million in sales. In metro Detroit, there are about 128,000 women-owned businesses, which employee 135,500 and produce $15 million in sales. 

Weeks says Michigan is ranked 41 out of the 50 states in terms of economic clout of women-owned businesses, meaning many of the businesses are not as competitive nationally as businesses owned by men in the state. She says the state could do more to encourage women to grow their businesses by creating women’s business centers and local business associations for women.

The report also looked at the growth of women-owned businesses in states and other metro areas before and after the recession. Michigan ranked 21st in the nation with 116 percent post-recession growth, while Detroit ranked 16th with 52 percent post-recession growth. 

“Nationally the growth is about the same pre-recession versus post recession, but in Michigan, actually, the growth in women-owned firms is a little higher than it was before the recession,” Weeks says. “So that’s a bright spot.”