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Women-, Minority-Owned Companies Surge in Mid-Market Representation

Women- and minority-owned middle-market businesses have outpaced the growth of mid-sized companies over the past six years, according to a recent report by American Express and Dun & Bradstreet.

Credit the middle market with increasing ownership diversity at a rate that is outstripping the growth in the number of mid-market companies generally.

The number of women-owned middle-market companies grew by 23.6% and the number of minority-owned middle-market companies rose by 22.1% during that period, according to the study. Over the same six-year period ended last year, the number of U.S. mid-sized businesses increased by just 4.1%.

Still, among the nearly 137,000 mid-market companies in the U.S. (defined as those with $10 million to $1 billion in revenues) only 6% are women-owned and minority-owned companies comprise only 5%.

“Only 6% of mid-market companies are women-owned and 5% are minority-owned, but both groups are generating an outsized portion of revenue and job growth.”

But the new report pointed out that, “despite their smaller representation, both groups are generating an outsized portion of revenue and job growth within the middle-market population.”

Revenue rose by 22.7% among women-owned businesses in the six years and 19.3% among minority-owned companies, while overall middle-market revenue actually fell by 2.2% during the period, whose beginning was marked by the Great Recession and whose later years brought only tepid overall U.S. economic growth.

And mid-market women-owned firms employed 23% of the workforce employed nationwide among all women-owned companies and contributed nearly one-third of revenues accounted for by women-owned enterprises, the study said, even though mid-market women-owned firms represented just 0.7% of all women-owned enterprises in the country.

Similarly, minority-owned mid-market firms represented 1.6% of all minority-owned enterprises in the U.S. However, they employed more than one-third of workers accounted for by all minority-owned businesses and generated 42% of the revenues.

Nevertheless, middle market women- and minority-owned companies tend to be smaller than the average middle-market firm in terms of revenue generated and in number of employees. The states with the highest percentage of women-owned middle-market enterprises were Alaska at 13%; Virginia with 11%; Maryland at 9% and Michigan with 9%.

Hawaii led among the states in the highest percentage of minority-owned mid-market firms, with 21%, reflecting its great ethnic diversity, the report said. Alaska had 19%; Virginia, 12%; New Mexico, 11%; and Maryland, 10%.

“It is exciting to see that women- and minority-owned businesses are now responsible for much of the dynamism in middle-market growth,” said Jeff Stibel, vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet, the business-credit data firm.


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