News / Economy

    Woman Moves Into Commonly Male Domain

    Almost one-third of small businesses in the United States is owned by women. That number is on the rise, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, especially in fields which were once dominated by men.

    On the move

    Chances are, a few decades ago, a moving company, with all of its trucks and heavy duty equipment, would have been owned by a man. But Apple Transfer, a company located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, belongs to Barbara Ayers.

    She is president and CEO of the company, which helps move households and businesses all across the U.S., and overseas.

    Ayers started the company with her brother Joe Garlick, in 1988. When they started out, it was just the two of them.

    “We actually had one small truck, on trade," she says. "He did the moving and I took care of the office."

    Today, she oversees a fleet of trucks and a large storage facility, employing up to 100 people during peak moving season.

    Government support

    Ana Harvey, assistant administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), says women-owned small businesses in the U.S. are flourishing.

    “If you think about 1979, only 5 percent of privately owned businesses in this country were owned by women," she says. "So here we are in almost 2013 and 30 percent of the privately owned businesses are owned by women.”

    According to Harvey, the trend started with a federal law passed in the 1970s.

    “Back then, there was an act passed that allowed women to actually get a loan without having a male co-signer,” she says, “and that really made a difference in terms of women business ownership.”

    Economic influences

    And then, says Harvey, there’s been the economy.

    “There’s been a batch of layoffs, and women just turn around and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to look for a business but in the meantime I’m going to start something I’ve always wanted to do.’ And that becomes the actual business.”

    Harvey, who used to be a small business owner herself, adds that the federal government is there to help women in a number of ways.

    “Last year we helped about 160,000 women with business plans, marketing plans, social media interactions; everything that you need to build a business," she says.

    And while the SBA, which promotes the development of small businesses in the U.S.,  is not a lender, it does work with banks and micro lenders to make sure that entrepreneurs have capital to start or grow a business.

    Government contracts

    The SBA also assists small business owners like Barbara Ayers to procure government contracts.

    The bulk of her client base comes from the Department of Defense. However,  the savvy business owner says she heeded some advice that has served her well:

    “I had a wise person tell me a very long time ago, ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,’" she says. "So we try to make sure we are diversified in our client mix.”

    In addition to government contracts and corporations, her clients also include private citizens, whom she affectionately refers to as “our moms and pops and our aunts and our uncles.”

    Women in male-dominated areas

    Government support has also helped entrepreneurs like Ayers explore businesses that have been traditionally closed off to them.

    “I’m in the trucking industry and so I’m a novelty because this is traditionally a male-dominated industry," she says. "So I sometimes find resistance. No reflection on men, but it is just the attitude and the thought of the way that it was.”

    But Ayers says it has all been worth it.

    “When I’m driving on the highway, and I see one of my trucks, it is a very proud, proud moment as I see it drive by,” she says.

    Judging by the statistics, it's a feeling being shared by a growing number of American women entrepreneurs.

    "I say to anybody, ‘Just do it!’” says Ayers. “You will have your trials and tribulations, you will have your sleepless nights, but you’ll never know unless you try, and it is very, very rewarding, extremely rewarding."

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: HDS26234 from: California
    October 27, 2012 11:58 PM
    No better proof than this; that the American traditional Biblical home is fast being wiped out, in good old USA!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9093
    JPY
    USD
    104.27
    GBP
    USD
    0.7612
    CAD
    USD
    1.3233
    INR
    USD
    67.329

    Rates may not be current.