The Best Women-Owned Companies

Mar/13/2023 / by Melanie Fourie
Female Owned Businesses
Image credits: via Pexels

The United States federal government and business groups have designated female owned businesses as eligible for a variety of incentives designed to help women succeed in business. The majority of definitions focus on the legal and ownership structure, as well as the question of who has authority over the day-to-day activities of a company. To prevent males from putting their wives, children, or low-level female workers in roles of ownership so that they may get government subsidies or other consideration, the consideration of governance of a corporation is important.

At least 51% of the ownership, operation, and daily management of the business must be held by one or more women to qualify as a Female Owned Businesses Enterprise (WBE). Usually a local, state, or federal government entity will vouch for a WBE. Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) are defined similarly by the Small Business Administration; they are businesses that are at least 51% owned, run, and managed on a regular basis by one or more women who are citizens of the United States. The SBA’s definition of a WOSB differs from the WBE classification in that it takes into account the company’s size in relation to a set of industry standards.

The First Woman-Owned Business Plus Some History on Female-Owned Businesses

Eliza Lucas Pinckney, at just 16 years old, became the first American woman to run a company when she inherited her clan’s plantations in South Carolina in the 1700s. During the 19th and 18th centuries, many middle-class and wealthy families had at least one female member working in the household business. They were often attempting to make ends meet after the death of a spouse or escape destitution. The businesses these ladies founded were not considered innovative or pioneering back then. 

Many had to pay attention to home duties. For example, Black females were traditionally restricted to low-paying occupations and domestic labour due to considerable hurdles to schooling and other economic choices. African-American women in the first decades of the twentieth century saw an opportunity for economic independence, and many seized it by carving out successful businesses in fields including tailoring, hair care for African-American women, housekeeping, and even maternity care. 

The Top Women-Owned Companies Today 

Female-owned businesses in the United States generated about $1.8 trillion in revenue and hired over 10.1 million people in 2018, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Census Bureau. The following, inspired by Investopedia, are a few examples of major corporations in which women possess at least half of the company’s equity.

Bennett Family of Companies

How does one take a five-truck shipping business and transform it into a supply chain behemoth generating around $700 million in yearly revenue? The pursuit of new prospects has always been important to Marcia Taylor, the owner and CEO of the company. Since its founding in 1974, Bennett has grown to become a full-service logistics provider. Their services currently include everything from project logistics and oil field assistance to cold chain solutions.

Taylor has successfully expanded the business without sacrificing its family-oriented ethos. Bennett was recognized once again as a “Top Transportation Company for Women to Work For” by the Women In Trucking Association in 2021.

Turtle & Hughes

Jayne Millard is in charge of the electrical and industrial distribution firm that her great-grandfather founded over a century ago.
Millard, once a marketing consultant for renowned dancer Martha Graham, has led the company to amazing success since he took the helm in Linden, New Jersey. In 1999, when she started working there, the company’s yearly sales were about $90 million; by 2020, an estimate from Dun & Bradstreet predicted that number would have risen to almost $758 million.

Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Inc.

In the 50s, Howard and Anne Freyvogel Hanna started what would become the biggest family-owned real estate broker in the USA. Generations later, their grandchildren and children are carrying on the family company with great success. These include Hoddy Hanna, Helen Hanna Casey, and Annie Hanna Cestra. This Pittsburgh-based firm projects $898 million in revenues for 2020 from its operations in many Eastern and Midwestern regions.

America Chung Nam

As with many other successful businesses, America Chung Nam started off small. In accordance with The New York Times, in the late 1990s, Cheung Yan and her husband Liu Ming Chung drove about in their minivan soliciting paper scraps from the managers of local rubbish dumps so that they might recycle them and ship them to China.

After two decades, their scrap paper business is generating around $1.5 billion annually in revenue. Forbes estimates the couple’s wealth at more than $3 billion because to their ownership of Nine Dragons Paper, China’s biggest container board maker.

Perry Homes

Kathy Britton was born into the construction industry, so it’s safe to say that she has a penchant for it. She started working for her dad’s Houston-based construction firm Perry Homes when she was a teenager and spent many years there as a model house greeter. And her first position out of law school was in the property acquisition division of the firm. 

When Britton Perry assumed the role of CEO after the death of her father, Bob Perry, in 2013, she benefited greatly from the foundation she had built. Following that success, the firm moved to Texas cities including Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth.

How Female Owners Benefit From a Women-Run Business

Exclusive Support for Female-Owned Enterprises

Women-owned companies have access to a wealth of information and support specifically tailored to their needs. Organizations vary greatly in the resources they provide their members.
The WBENC is a great resource !  For the sole purpose of supporting female company owners, this group offers certification for enterprises run by women and a voice in the business community.
The current societal drive to reflect minority groups in the marketplace presents a further possibility that is exclusive to firms controlled by women.

 The consequences of the recent pandemic, together with other societal changes, have highlighted the need for more offline and online support for women in business. There is a growing number of blogs, webinars, career coaching sites, and other online resources geared on empowering women in business. There are greater opportunities for growth as the number of women who own companies grows. It’s beneficial to look into what’s available in your area in terms of networking gatherings, websites, podcasts, and other media that are specifically geared at women.

Multiple Options for Financial Support Are Available

The advantages of being a recognized Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) or Women Business Enterprise (WBE) are many. The minimum required percentage of female ownership for an organization to get one of these labels is 51%. In contrast to the WBE certification, which is awarded by local, state, or other government bodies, the WOSB certification is managed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The most significant distinction is that only WOSBs are eligible to receive grants and contracts from the federal government. Once a company is recognized as being controlled by women, it is eligible for more funding and contracting possibilities. According to the SBA, the federal government’s objective is to allocate at least 5 % of all federal contracting funds to women-owned small companies each year. Women-owned enterprises may also apply for funding from a wide variety of private organizations. These awards could amount to  $150,000, making them a great alternative for budding female business owners.

Businesses Are Increasingly Seeking Female Executives!

It’s open fact that women have made significant professional strides since then. The fact that women make excellent leaders is a major one. Just consider… There is not a single one of us who does not personally know at least one amazing woman who has excelled in a professional or leadership capacity. Maybe your mom runs a business, or your friend is in charge of the nursing staff at the local hospital. Women’s leadership qualities and the fresh perspective they offer to the corporate sector deserve recognition.

Specifically, a research from Western Governors University serves as an excellent illustration of this point. As for women in leadership roles, the following was discovered via this research:

  • Women have a natural gift for expression
  • Solving problems often requires women to draw on their interpersonal networks of information
  • Women often have fresh perspectives to offer in the workplace

Women have a better track record than males in encouraging teamwork over rivalry


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