WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES SURGE IN NORTH JERSEY AND STATE
By Alexander Macinnes
July 10, 2011
Women entrepreneurs in New Jersey outpaced the state’s overall rate of growth for new businesses between 1997 and 2007, reflecting a nationwide trend, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The latest census data show double-digit percentage increases in women business owners in educational services, finance and insurance, and human resources companies.
“More women are leaving corporate America to start their own businesses,” said Jehan Sanders, vice president of Relationship Banking for North Jersey Community Bank in Englewood Cliffs. “About 70 percent to 80 percent [are leaving corporate positions], and the others were women taking over family businesses from their fathers or grandfathers and they are now leading the company.”
The number of women-owned businesses in New Jersey jumped 37.2 percent, compared with a 19.5 percent surge for all businesses over the 1997-2007 period, according to the census. Nationally, female-owned businesses climbed 43.8 percent, outpacing the 30 percent increase for all companies.
“Business ownership is no longer a simple issue of gender, because businesses owned by women and men more and more share the same general development patterns,” wrote the Small Business Administration in a June study.
Because of the continued increase in women-owned businesses, Sanders started a Women’s Breakfast Club in January, a monthly meeting of Bergen County entrepreneurs who discuss market trends, share marketing advice and address everyday challenges.
The strongest growth came between 2002 and 2007, according to that study of census numbers. During that time, no industry in the state saw a bigger increase in women-owned businesses than the education field. That umbrella term covers a broad cross section of businesses, including private facilities for job training, physical disability rehabilitation, testing centers and guidance counseling.
There were 6,587 women-owned educational businesses in 2002 and that number jumped 48 percent to 9,773 five years later. Although the total receipts from those businesses represent just 6.5 percent of the $6.7 billion from that industry, women run nearly half of all New Jersey’s education companies.
Marilyn Boseland, who owns the education-supply company Boseland’s Learning Plus in Saddle Brook, believes 2007 was the “heyday” of new, private nursery school openings. Although there has since been a decline, Boseland says the industry is dominated by female entrepreneurs.
“Most nursery schools are owned by women, so if there’s a resurgence in those it will be mostly women,” she said.
Evelyn Virgil jumped into the private education business in February 2010, opening the Study Hall tutoring center in Teaneck. Virgil, a Bogota teacher, started Study Hall as a way to supplement her income and work more directly with individual students.
“I just felt it was the right time,” she said. “I had been tutoring in homes and I had been doing really well. I thought it would be something I’d love to do.”