According to a survey conducted for BMO Bank of Montreal, two out of three female business owners are likely to turn a profit within two years of first starting out.
The survey of more than 500 small business owners or managers found that 63% of women were turning a profit by the two-year mark, and 73% of all of the respondents said they are currently earning profits. In order to launch their company, women entrepreneurs said they required an average of $201,729.
Asked about the biggest challenges they faced when starting out (respondents could give more than one answer), 51% said it was supporting their families until the business was profitable, 43% struggled to obtain capital to get started, and 43% fought to build up a customer base. Another 20% said they had trouble getting advice on how to get started.
What kinds of businesses do women tend to run? According to the survey, the retail sector (including wholesale, imports/exports, and distribution) tends to have the highest proportion of female entrepreneurs (30%), followed by services such as healthcare, real estate and food and beverage (17%), and professional services such as technology, financial services, business services, consulting, marketing and telecommunications (14%). The survey also found that women make up 17% of the entrepreneurs in the manufacturing and construction sector, specifically in the automotive, transportation, and industrial segments.
"Entrepreneurship is a challenging but rewarding venture when you have a plan in place and have the right help and advice. We're here to help women-owned businesses as they continue to expand in this growing market," comments John MacAulay, head of Canadian commercial banking at BMO Bank of Montreal. "In 2014, BMO made an additional $2 billion in credit available to women-owned businesses across Canada over the next three years. Part of BMO's commercial banking mandate is to address the growing needs to women in business."