By Sarah Ruef-Lindquist
According to a Nov. 27, 2017 story in the Portland Press Herald, Women-owned businesses are thriving in Maine “…women entrepreneurs in Maine have created more jobs and revenue growth than their counterparts in most other states.” The data cited points to women as contributing significantly to Maine’s economy with thousands of small businesses, often begun as cottage industries, and growing into what are mostly small businesses, the main-stay of the Maine economy.
Reporter Craig Anderson writes that “Maine…has become a national leader when it comes to companies owned by women.” And cites the seventh annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by the financial services firm American Express for the fact that “From 1997 to 2017, Maine ranked No. 1 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for revenue growth among women-owned businesses, and No. 2 for job growth…” and goes on to state that “Maine has an estimated 45,600 women-owned businesses that employ 49,900 workers and generate roughly $13 billion in annual sales. Job creation among women-owned businesses in Maine was just over 76 percent from 1997 to 2017, compared with 27 percent nationally. Revenue growth among women-owned firms was 298 percent in Maine, compared with 103 percent nationally, it found.”
These are numbers that speak to the resourcefulness, tenacity and determination of Maine women. But what’s the bigger picture for women beyond Maine and the US?
According to Veris Wealth Partners, a growing area of investment worldwide involves “GLI” or Gender Lens Investing: “Gender Lens Investing mobilizes capital to improve the condition of women and girls worldwide. The underlying premise is that when women arefully empowered by having access to capital and opportunity, our economy and society flourish.”
In their November 14, 2017 press release, Veris reported that publicly traded GLI strategies (including mutual and exchange traded funds) now total 22, when there were only 5 between the period 1993 to 2012.
A separate index – Pax Global Womens Leadership Index – has been developed to evaluate the performance of companies involving women in board and management leadership, including more than 400 companies, by Pax World Investing out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. According to their website, “The Pax Global Womens Leadership Index has outperformed the MSCI World Index by 4.30% cumulative from 2/28/14 to 9/30/17.”
Whether it’s close to home, right here in Maine, or in other parts of the US and beyond, women – and investments in them – are paying off and growing our economy.
* The gender lens strategy may limit the investment options available to the investor and may result in returns lower than those from investments not subject to such investment considerations. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot actually invest directly into an index. Unlike investments, indices do no incur management fees, charges or expenses. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) all country world index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the global developed and emerging markets.