According to the International Franchise Association, women owned 27 percent of franchise locations in 2017, an increase from 20.5 percent in 2007. Women business owners are a strong and diverse set of the nation’s economy. As such, they go (and just as importantly do not go) into franchising for a number of reasons.
Reasons to franchise
Some chose franchising for lifestyle reasons such as a family-friendly environment. While others are attracted to the thought of joining a company with a recognized reputation and an established set of procedures and policies for running the business rather than having to create them for themselves. Still others chose to leave corporate jobs when the environment becomes inhospitable or even downright hostile to them.
Like all women business owners, women franchise owners need access to capital. Most of us are too familiar with the capital cycle: women start businesses with less capital than their male counterparts. Many women are turned down for traditional funding and turn to personal resources, including credit cards and retirement savings. Then when they are ready to scale their business, women do not have the credit history or the established relationship with a lender often necessary to get access to the capital they then need.
This cycle too often repeats itself. Thirty years ago in some states, women could not obtain a business loan unless they had a male to co-sign for them. Thankfully that changed with the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act, commonly referred to as HR 5050.
Today we continue to push for parity through policies but also through permeation. It’s important that we see more women pursue business opportunities in franchising. As the number of women in franchising grows, they are altering the space. As women move into board rooms and businesses in franchising and all sectors, they bring their own approaches and perspectives of business ownership with them. This helps spur innovation and contributes to a more dynamic U.S. economy.