- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Women-owned businesses in Virginia are growing faster than any other business in the state, according to a recent study.

Economist Christine Chmura on Wednesday announced the results of a study conducted by her firm, Chmura Economics & Analytics.

Women-owned businesses are increasing at four times the pace of total firm growth in the state, she said during an event at the University of Richmond for the National Association of Women Business Owners.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/1Wya7M8) Chmura also said the businesses are adding employees at nine times the pace of total employment growth in the state.

The study compared data from the 2012 Census Bureau with current information. According to the report, women-owned businesses, defined as 51 percent or more owned by women, account for 36 percent of all firms in Virginia.

The state - with 237,371 women-owned businesses - ranked No. 12 in the nation in 2012. Chmura estimated that the number of women-owned business in Virginia has grown to 277,154 this year.

The average annual growth rate in these Virginia firms was 5.3 percent from 2012 to 2015 - compared with the national average growth rate of 5.9 percent.

“The state of women-owned firms is good here and nationally,” Chmura said.

In terms of revenue, women-owned firms in Virginia will generate an estimated $57.2 billion this year, up an average of 8.3 percent annually from $45 billion in 2012.

Maurice A. Jones, secretary of Commerce and Trade for Virginia, said women-owned businesses could be tapping into construction contracts awarded by the state. Construction accounts for most of the money spent yearly in goods and services by the state.

“What we need is more balance,” Jones said. “We need more women in the construction business.”

Jones said the state has set aside $400,000 in loan funding for small, women- and minority-owned businesses.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, https://www.timesdispatch.com


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