BG ranks for women owned businesses

Owning a business takes a great work ethic, strong organization skills and a willingness to take risks. In Bowling Green, Ohio, more and more women have been taking on the challenge.

In Bowling Green there are 669 women-owned firms according to the United States Census Bureau. This is in comparison to the 790 male-owned firms in Bowling Green. Women-owned businesses make up 40 percent of stores in Bowling Green.

While women have had to work for their right to own a business, Bowling Green, as a whole, is generally supportive of women who want to own a business.

Prudy Brott, owner of the Sunset Bistro and Bowling Green townie, has a “Women-Owned Business” sticker in the window, right next to the front door, of her restaurant.

Brott grew up in Bowling Green and her family still lives here. One of her siblings teaches psychology at Bowling Green State University while the other owns the tattoo and piercing shop, Broadwing, in downtown Bowling Green.

Brott started working in restaurants when she was 14 and has worked her way up to owning one. She ran a different restaurant operation in Colorado but came back home to open Sunset Bistro in her home town.

She believes that “hard workers are going to succeed.” Also, Bowling Green put on a Women in Business day, which has helped her success.

“They gave me a sticker, and I thought, ‘well that’s really neat.’ So I stuck it on the window and about ten minutes later we were packed. We were on a wait and there were people waiting all over, because they came out to celebrate women-owned businesses,” she said.

Women-owned firms in Bowling Green do not reflect the population, as according to the Census Bureau women make up 52 percent of the people in Bowling Green.

The number of women-owned firms could increase with the support of the Bowling Green community.

Brott said, “I think people respect that a woman has gone into business for herself and people are supportive. I mean, it’s great. I don’t know if it would be different if I was a male, but people definitely support the idea of a woman-owned business.”

While Bowling Green is reaching closer towards a more equitable number of women-owned firms, Ohio as a whole has more work to do.

Women-owned businesses make up 34 percent of all the businesses in the state. Female people make up 51 percent of the population in Ohio, according to the Census Bureau.

Stacie Banfield is another owner of a business in downtown Bowling Green. She owns Mode Elle, a boutique.

She has a communication degree from the University of Toledo. She is also the mother of two boys and opened Mode Elle as a mobile boutique, where Banfield would travel to women’s homes and sell them clothes. In 2015 she opened the store full time.

Banfield talked about the benefits of being a women-owned business that come from being in Ohio. She said, “The only statistical benefit that you have are different tax breaks.”

Banfield does not believe that gender has a big impact on how successful someone can be or on her success, however.

She said “I’m a strong believer in you get out what you put in. I don’t expect to be handed things.”

Like Banfield and Brott, most women who are looking to own a business do not expect to be handed success.

According to a 2016 article in “Entrepreneur,” women own 30 percent of all small businesses and employ 7.9 million people. But, despite this relative success, women are still finding it difficult to get funding. That same article states only seven percent of venture capital investment money is given to women-owned firms.

Universally, women are still looking for equality in the professional world.

Makayla Morgan, a communication disorders major, said, “I am in a female dominated field and am still completing my undergraduate degree. I will not encounter too many men fighting for my position because of the nature of the field. However, in preparing for for life after school I can say that I have learned many tips that make it clear in professional settings I need to keep my eyes open at all times to be sure that I’m not being underpaid or underappreciated because of my gender.”

Despite the struggles of being a woman-owned business and because of the local support from communities for female business owners, the number of these firms increased 44 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to a study done by the U.S. Department of Commerce. This is twice as fast as the rate of male-owned firms.

Morgan, who self-identifies as a feminist, said she does not go out of her way to support women-owned businesses specifically, but she does like to support locally owned businesses.

While in the United States as a whole there is a dominance of male-owned businesses, small communities like Bowling Green are doing their part to support women-owned firms.