News / Economy

Woman Moves Into Commonly Male Domain

More Women Starting Businessesi
|| 0:00:00
X
October 27, 2012 12:49 PM
Almost one-third of American small businesses are owned by women. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, that number is on the rise, especially in fields that were once considered male-only territory. VOA's Julie Taboh visited a woman-owned business in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and has this report.

More Women Starting Businesses

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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.