Women-owned businesses on the rise

The Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP) says many have taken advantage of the Activated Spaces Pop-Up Shop program

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – More women own their own businesses now compared to previous years.

As of 2015, women-owned businesses account for 30 percent of all enterprises in the United States.

New data from the 2015 American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report shows the total number of businesses across the country has increased by 51 percent during the last 18 years, but the number of women-owned businesses nationwide has gone up by 74 percent, which is a rate of 1.5 times the national average.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP) says many have taken advantage of the Activated Spaces Pop-Up Shop program, which offers potential businesses a street-level storefront at a below-market rate. Lowering the barrier for entry into the downtown retail market. Since the program’s launch in 2011, eight of 12 businesses that remain open today are owned by women.

While Alexandra Rivers was working full-time as an engineer, she also sold baked goods out of her own home. Until three months ago she decided to open Twist Cupcakery, a bakery in downtown Dayton.

“I love sweets, I love snacks. So, my passion is baking and I enjoyed doing it out of my home, but one order turned into a whole bunch more. Being a woman in business, I feel so empowered that we are doing such great things and I think that women are such excellent leaders,” said Rivers, Twist Cupcakery owner.

With more women led businesses moving into the area, like Heart on Fifth and Corner Kitchen in the Oregon District, the DDP expects the number of women run businesses to rise in the future.

“They feel strong enough, they know they can do it and they have a network around them. They are taking those leadership roles and being very successful at it,” explained Sandy Gudorf, Downtown Dayton Partnership president.

The numbers speak for themselves, 64 percent of women owned businesses are start-ups in downtown Dayton. Gudorf says when she started working for the partnership 15 years ago, the numbers weren’t that high.

“There weren’t many women sitting around the table making decisions back then. Today, there’s a whole lot more women around the table,” described Gudorf of earlier years on the job.

Eventually Sandy became president of the company, that’s why the increase in women led businesses is icing on the cake.

Gudorf says the economy has played a major role in the city’s development.

“We’ve been through some really tough, tough years, but I get a twinge of excitement if you will, when I see these womenare working hard and their passionate living out their dreams,” said Gudorf.

Luckily Rivers says she had many leading ladies in her life. Her mother runs her own business, her grandmother and great-grandmother were both entrepreneurs.

“We have compassion, we have so many wonderful characteristics just innately as women. I think it really spills over into the business arena and makes us such great leaders,” said Rivers.

The Ohio Development Services Agency partners with community based non-profit organizations to host regional Minority Business Assistance Centers (MBAC). These centers provide services to help historically disadvantaged groups. For more information about MBAC, click here.


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