Election Section

Research ranks Vegas and Nevada high for women-owned businesses

The Associated Press
Thursday January 03, 2002

LAS VEGAS — A research firm is projecting that Nevada will rank fourth among states with the fastest-growing rate of women-owned businesses in a 1997-to-2002 study. 

The Center for Women’s Business Research said the Las Vegas metropolitan area will rank second in women’s business growth in major U.S. cities, behind the Salt Lake City-Ogden, Utah, area, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday. 

The Silver State will have some 45,935 women-owned businesses by the end of the year, employing 78,000 people and generating more than $13.1 billion in sales, according to the study. 

The Washington, D.C.-based center used U.S. Census figures to develop the list. 

It said women own 29 percent of all privately owned companies in the state. That represents a growth rate of 38 percent and sales growth of 120 percent between 1997 and 2002. 

Nationally, the center said the number of majority-owned, privately held women-owned firms will grow by 14 percent by the end of 2002, compared with 7 percent for all U.S. companies. The center puts the number of women-owned companies nationwide at 6.2 million. 

In Las Vegas, 33,011 women-owned businesses account for 30 percent of the metropolitan area’s privately held companies, employing 55,000 people and generating nearly $9 billion in sales. 

Julie Weeks, the center’s research director, told the Review-Journal that states in the West, where populations boomed in the latter half of the 1990s, showed significant growth in women-owned business. 

Weeks said the center found that growth rate exceeded the average growth rate for all business in all states. 

She attributed the growth to women becoming more educated and more experienced in executive-level positions. 

“For many of those women, entrepreneurship, starting a business, is the next logical step,” Weeks said. 

Cynthia Throm started Employers Benefits Design, a Las Vegas insurance company, 10 years ago because she wanted the freedom to follow her convictions. 

“When you work for a corporation, there’s a corporate philosophy,” Throm said. “When I started working for myself, I didn’t have to work with people, or philosophies, I didn’t agree with.” 

She said she learned that some customers take businesswomen less seriously then men, but said success and longevity foster customer faith. 

Lisa Hammond helped run her husband’s construction business before opening her own mail-order firm, Femail Creations, in Las Vegas. 

She said her business, featuring items designed by women artists and women-owned businesses, cleared $5 million in sales last year. It also gained mention in Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O. 

“A woman may not have a master’s in merchandising,” Hammond said. “Even so, she may have the experience and guts to figure (business) out.”