A new report released Wednesday reveals an alarming trend: The lending gap for women is widening dramatically, seriously impacting growth prospects for this key demographic group.
The study surveyed 27,000 small businesses nationwide in February in a wide range of industries. Services (except public administration) represented 21.9 percent of the women-owned companies in the 2017 study, followed by retail (18.4 percent), food/hospitality (12.4 percent) and health care (8.3 percent).
Last year the average funded business loan for women-owned firms was $57,097, down from more than $99,000 in 2016, according to Biz2Credit's annual State of Women-Owned Small Business Finance Study. In comparison, the average size of a business loan for male entrepreneurs was stable, at $103,604.
This comes at a time when women are starting more businesses in the United States than ever before. Women-owned businesses in the United States have more than doubled in the past 20 years, as has their revenue, according to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses report, commissioned by American Express OPEN.
In fact, women launch an average of 849 new businesses per day, up 3 percent from 2016, according to that report. The 11.6 million women-owned companies across America employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1.7 trillion in revenue, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.