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1 in 4 female founders have considered running for office

They employ more than 9 million people in the United States and view the world differently from their male counterparts. Fast Company and Inc.’s annual survey reveals what this growing economic force is thinking.

1 in 4 female founders have considered running for office
[Illustration: Prateek Vatash]

Women entrepreneurs, as a group, are crushing it. The number of U.S. businesses owned by women climbed nearly 60% over the past 11 years, a period when new business creation grew just 12% overall. Their companies employ more than 9 million people, up 21% since 2007. Add in companies equally co-owned by male and female business partners and the numbers are even more astounding: Together, U.S. businesses with a female owner generate more than $3 trillion in annual revenue and employ more than 16 million people, according to a study by American Express.

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The Fast Company-Inc 2019 State of Women and Entrepreneurship Survey

As female founders become an increasingly important force in the global economy, lawmakers should note that women entrepreneurs are not in political lockstep with their male counterparts. For the second consecutive year, Fast Company and Inc. set out to better understand the experiences and perspectives of some of the millions of women who’ve founded businesses. The 487 U.S.-based women who responded to our 2019 State of Women and Entrepreneurship survey in June represent a range of business owners, from sole operators to venture-backed leaders of companies aspiring to go public. They care about taxes, regulation, and the economy, but they are, as a whole, more politically progressive than male entrepreneurs—and the overall U.S. population. Eighty-nine percent of our respondents favored more government protection of the environment, while only two-thirds of Americans think the government should do more.

Why does this matter? As we enter the 2020 election cycle, politicians should consider that “small business” isn’t a single voting bloc. Lawmakers who ignore this powerful and growing cohort do so at their own peril: Some 28% of respondents say they would consider running for political office now or in the future, up from 22% a year ago.

A version of this article appeared in the October 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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