One of the youngest faces of entrepreneurship at the event was Mikaila Ullmer. The 11-year-old owner of Me & the Bees Lemonade, a philanthropic business that donates a portion of its profits to help save honeybees, had the honor of introducing President Obama. She took the opportunity to share some words of wisdom based on her own experiences with the summit’s 5,000 attendees.
“Entrepreneurs hold the American dream, and the biggest dreamers are kids,” she said. “My advice to anyone who’s looking to start a business is simple: Be fearless, believe in the impossible and dream like a kid.”
Ullmer’s words come at a time when girls are seeing more female business owners as role models. According to American Express OPEN’s 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, 1,072 new women-owned firms have been started each day since 2007. Women now own 38% of America’s businesses. The growth in women-owned businesses has increased at a rate five times faster than the national average since 2007, as have the number of small businesses owned by women of color.
In a recent Manta poll, 57% of respondents said they consider themselves a minority or woman small business owner. Of that group, 66% self-identified as woman-owned specifically. When you consider that small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales and provide 55% of all jobs, it’s clear that the increasing number of women starting small businesses is driving significant economic growth. The AmEx report confirms this trend, showing strongest employment growth among women-owned businesses between 50 and 99 employees.
Women-owned businesses don’t always have the same access to capital and markets as male-majority-owned businesses, according to the National Women’s Business Council. The organization advocates for policy actions to correct the imbalance.