Course Overview: Identifying Barriers to Goal Achievement

There are many layers to the barriers faced by women in the entrepreneurial setting. It is not just gender barriers we face on a daily basis. The hurdles amount to many, when looking at the landscape in today’s business world.

From 2007 to 2012, the number of women owned businesses had a dramatic rate of increase. The rates of entrepreneurship increased nearly 4 times that of the male counterpart.*

Statistics indicate that approximately 36% of all business owners are women. We are growing by leaps and bounds, and currently are estimated to own about 9 million plus businesses in the nation.*

In spite of the tremendous growth encountered, women business owners still face difficulty in removing barriers in the world of entrepreneurship. Two of the biggest barriers faced by many include the fear and risk involved in a new business venture.

Shared Experiences

There are shared experiences among women entrepreneurs regarding barriers faced. Some of these shared experiences include the following: lack of start-up capital, resources, access to loans, gender discrimination within male-dominated sectors, lack of availability and access to strong networks, inability to receive government contracts, children, and family obligations.*

Although there are multiple barriers faced, women business owners have continued to move forward with dreams and aspirations of owning businesses. As of 2012, there were 9,878,397 women-owned businesses in the United States. That’s an increase of 2,086,282 businesses, or 26.8%, from 2007.


According to a report generated for the National Women's Business Council, on average, women start with half as much capital as men. However, between 2008-2011, for firms with growth at or exceeding 30%, women owned businesses stood at 58.2%. This is compared to 52.9% of men-owned businesses.***

These statistics indicate that tenacity and stamina are critical factors in building resilience. Women business owners are forging ahead, in spite of fears that may be encountered.

Social and Human Capital Challenges

Results from a recent report revealed that social and human capital challenges impacted the overall structure of the business. With women business owners, there is a huge reliance on individuals (family and friends) for advice and support. However, there is a question as to whether these connections are able to provide the adequate information and support necessary to support the woman entrepreneur.*

Additional human capital challenges are faced by Black women business owners. Black women business owners are a majority in the category of single business owners, being the only employee.*

Furthermore, according to a report released by the American Association of University Women, Black women are paid 90 percent of what their Black male counterparts are paid.* This further demonstrates a lack of human capital, as well as the existence of gender inequality.


There is a definite need for additional dialogue concerning the disparity that exists in the financial, social, and human capital arena. Based on all the data generated, one can conclude that there is value in generating supportive tools to assist women business owners. It is imperative that we start the discussion now on how to create better outcomes for future women business owners.

(*Black Women Entrepreneurs: Past and Present Conditions of Black Women's Business Ownership, National Women's Business Council and U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy Prepared by Walker's Legacy, October 2016)

(**Fact Sheet: Women-Owned Businesses, National Women's Business Council, 2012)

(***Access to Capital, National Women's Business Council, 2014)

Created By
Precious Vines


Created with images by citirecruitment - "business woman" • geralt - "women's power specialist businesswoman" • StartupStockPhotos - "student woman startup" • Fausto Hernandez Photography - "Alexa @ Tempe Town Lake" • citirecruitment - "Business Woman" • Transformer18 - "P2280083"

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