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WPO Economic Impact Survey: While Women-Owned Businesses Are Growing And Hiring The Economy Is Still A Concern

-- 50% Believe Economic Conditions are Biggest Threat to Growth --

NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While 65% of women-owned and led businesses experienced positive growth in the first half of 2013, there are still major concerns about the economic climate. According to the results of the Women Presidents' Organization 2013 Economic Impact Survey, released today, half (50%) of WPO members in the nonprofit, peer advisory group for owners of multi-million dollar companies believe that economic conditions are the single biggest threat to their bottom line growth. By comparison, 34% were concerned with economic conditions in 2012. The annual Economic Impact Survey, sponsored by KeyBank's Key4Women program, focuses on growth, economic stability and future outlook of women-owned and led businesses around the world. (You can view an infographic of the results here.)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130423/DC99942LOGO)

This year's survey found 69% are optimistic in terms of 2013 financial performance to date, relative to 2012. In 2012, 71 percent were optimistic about their financial performance, relative to their performance in 2011.

Beyond economic climate, 32% of WPO members cited competition as a key concern, while another 32% said that human resources -- namely hiring and retaining good employees -- is an issue that impacts their revenue.

Despite HR concerns, 50% of women-owned and led businesses have hired new employees, and 63% have actually increased their employees' salaries in 2013. A whopping 88% of women-led companies provide health insurance -- a stark contrast to the 52% national average -- which has been declining since 2000.

When it comes to salary, business ownership can be lucrative: 76% of WPO members currently make at least six figures, and 28% have received a salary increase this year, further separating themselves from the statistic that women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.

"Women face plenty of challenges in starting and running businesses, but our WPO members are those women who have gone above and beyond and reached the pinnacle of success to lead multi-million dollar companies," said Dr. Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., president and founder of the WPO. "It's reassuring to see that despite economic conditions and decreased optimism, these women are still hiring, providing salary increases, offering health insurance and taking care of their employees in the face of uncertainty. It's an example that all business leaders should follow."

Key4Women Manager Martha Seidenwand said the survey results highlight the continuing significant role and economic impact of women-owned small businesses. More than 70% of survey respondents own or operate businesses with up to $20 million in revenue.

"The WPO Economic Impact Survey reflects what we are seeing and hearing from our clients as we help them identify the right solutions to their changing challenges," Seidenwand said. "Women-owned businesses – small and large – that forged through the economic downtown are still helping to drive the economic recovery by expanding operations and payroll."

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