SALT LAKE CITY — With low unemployment and one of the strongest economies in the nation, Utah has established a reputation as one of the top states for business in the U.S., according to a Forbes.com.
The Beehive State is also a place where female-led businesses have seen increasing success over the past several years.
This month, the Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center celebrated its 20th anniversary. Founded in 1997, the nonprofit center has helped women business owners start and grow their enterprises, build confidence among female entrepreneurs, create new opportunities and experience success through consulting and in-person and online training, explained Ann Marie Wallace, executive director of the Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center.
In the last five years, clients of the center have collectively created 335 new businesses and 952 new jobs, earned $152.3 million in revenue, accessed $5.58 million in capital and increased their profit by $10.8 million, she noted. Women-owned startup businesses have grown five times the national average over the past 20 years, she said. The Utah center is one of 150 Women's Business Centers across the country and the only one in the Beehive State, she added.
“The Women's Business Center has supported and assisted women in building their own business for two decades and has seen how a powerful female voice in the marketplace makes Utah’s economy more diverse and vibrant,” Wallace said. “We are inspired by our clients who continually create and grow sustainable companies and create jobs for other Utahns.”
One of the center's clients was Sabrina Morales, chief executive officer of Kearns-based Linguistica International — a full-service interpretation and translation agency that specializes in government, medical, legal, business and social services. She attributed much of her firm's growth to training and resources she received at the center.
“The Women’s Business Center has helped us in so many different ways, from marketing all the way to understanding how government contracting works,” she said. “We have now doubled in size and have long-lasting relationships with clients we never expected.”
Wallace said an increasing number of successful Utah women are raising the profile of the local business community. She noted that Utah ranked No. 9 in female entrepreneurship nationwide.
"Women in Utah are industrious, smart and run businesses better than 41 other states," she said.
Part of what often makes women so successful in business is their ability to make critical decisions in a manner that is beneficial to the long-term viability of the enterprise, Wallace said. A quality that sometimes distinguishes women from their male counterparts, she noted.
"Psychologically speaking, women make decisions differently than men do," she explained. "A woman is going to figure out how (the new business) is going to impact her family, where maybe a man doesn't think as much about that."
Wallace added that women also bring a diversity of thought to most business situations that frequently leads to more success. The difference in life experience can be a valuable aid in helping to make prudent choices regarding business strategies, she said.Comment on this story
"Sometimes women are willing to take risks in different ways that men do," she explained. "Women bring their own experiences into businesses that (offers) a different perspective on how to move forward and really impact people."
She said women run thousands of Utah companies that contribute $14 billion to the state economy, representing about 30 percent of all economic impact from businesses.
"They employ people and (are) helping their communities flourish," Wallace said. "It makes the economy more vibrant to have so much diversity in business, including women of color. It's pretty darn exciting what's going on with women's entrepreneurship."