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Women Entrepreneurs Are Thriving in Male-Dominated Industries; 49% Became Business Owners in 2023

Last year witnessed a surge in female entrepreneurship, with businesses owned by women opening at rates surpassing the overall market.
Cover Image Source: The rise of women entrepreneurs (representative image) | Photo by Alexander Suhorucov | Pexels
Cover Image Source: The rise of women entrepreneurs (representative image) | Photo by Alexander Suhorucov | Pexels

Bernadette Corbeil wasn't your typical mall-goer. She stood out as the only girl in her class where she discovered her passion for building things with her hands, even learning to weld at just 10 years old. She took the risk last year and launched her own construction company, Artemis Construction Group, based in Wildwood, Missouri after working for others for almost 10 years. She is now in charge of her group.

Image Source: Photo by Los Muertos Crew | pexels
Woman entrepreneurs are on the rise (representative image) | Photo by Los Muertos Crew | Pexels

Similar to her, more women are launching their enterprises since the pandemic. According to recent data from 2023, women not only started new enterprises at a quicker rate than the market average but also contributed to the economy through their expenditures. This trend is especially strong in traditionally male-dominated fields like construction and manufacturing.

Tara Lewis, a trend expert at Yelp, explains that women are attracted to entrepreneurship because it offers them control over their schedules, flexibility, and the autonomy to shape their careers. This realization has empowered many women to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

According to Yelp's analysis, there were over 58,000 new "women-owned" company openings in 2023—a 17% increase—when compared to the same period the year before. Gusto research also shows a change in the entrepreneurial environment, with women making up 49% of new business owners in 2023 as opposed to just 29% in 2019. According to Gusto's survey, somewhat more women than men—70% of women who started their businesses requested flexibility. Though gender-specific data on new firm formation is not available from the US Census, surveys and private-sector studies provide insightful information on trends in women entrepreneurship. 

Image Source: Photo by Mikael Blomkvist | Pexels
70% of women who started their businesses requested flexibility (representative image) | Photo by Mikael Blomkvist | Pexels

The COVID-19 epidemic spurred the already growing trend of female entrepreneurs into overdrive during the so-called "she-cession." According to Wells Fargo, women seized opportunities while confronting severe job obstacles; during the start of the pandemic, more women started businesses than those who closed them.

According to research using Census data, women-owned firms grew at a rate nearly twice as high as those owned by men between 2019 and 2023. This trend continued from 2022 to 2023. Unprecedented levels of funding, loans, grants, and technical help from a variety of sectors greeted this wave of entrepreneurship. Ventureneer's Geri Stengel emphasized the adaptability and determination of women particularly Black and Hispanic women entrepreneurs who experienced significant income growth during this time.

Marie Saint-Cyr's pandemic success story

The pandemic didn't stop Marie Saint-Cyr from succeeding. She launched two new companies in 2023. She was a teacher, coordinator, and artist before the pandemic. But she stepped back to consider her profession once COVID-19 struck. She had an idea in October 2020 while educating minority-owned companies on how to interact with the government. She decided to study more about managing a company. She enrolled in numerous classes over the following year to hone her technological, sales, and marketing abilities.

With this newfound understanding, she managed mural projects for schools and other locations in New York City by turning her art business into a mural agency. Her company saw significant growth, increasing from $50,000 in 2020 to almost $1 million in 2022. She even won an award from the US Small Business Administration. Now, she's helping others start businesses too, with an after-school art program and coaching services for working with public entities like schools.

Image Source: Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko | Pexels
Women-owned businesses are flourishing since the pandemic (representative image) | Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko | Pexels

Yelp's data shows that women are shifting their attention from beauty enterprises to home services in 2023, which indicates a shift in entrepreneurial priorities. According to Tara Lewis of Yelp, women are deliberately looking for roles in which they can shine. Even though women make up a small portion of construction workers and business owners, there are plenty of opportunities in the skilled professions. People who actively advocate inclusion in these fields—such as Allie Perez of Texas Women in Trades—offer assistance and resources to minorities, women, and young people.

Success stories like Bernadette Corbeil's Artemis Construction Group show how more women are entering skilled trades and even running their businesses with growing interest and support. These stories demonstrate how women's abilities are becoming more widely acknowledged in fields that have historically been dominated by males.