“Successful mothers are not the ones who have never struggled. They are the ones who never give up, despite the struggles.” – Unknown

While May is already upon us, I have found myself wondering if spring would even stop by for a visit. There have been days that have teased us with the sunshine, a gentle breeze, and warm temperatures, then the bite of a cold wind, gray skies, and lower temperatures have disappointed us by driving the warm days of spring away. I’m sure we are all looking forward to spring and summer sticking around for a while.

Our May issue recognizes our mothers and the strong women they are leading, directing, encouraging, motivating, and always ready with a shoulder and a hug. Many women, whether they have children or not, are “moms” to others. Whether at work, in a group, at church, in a classroom, or the neighborhood, it’s in our nature to care for others; often putting our own needs at the end of the list. Recently, I have been fortunate enough to meet ladies that have started businesses focused on helping others care for themselves. As you learn the story of each of these women, you will quickly become inspired by their journey and want to work harder to become a better person – a better woman. Remember: in order to care for others, you must first care for yourself.

Some local business owners scoff at women entrepreneurs in our community, by saying they hope we do well with our “little hobby”; talk negatively behind our backs, saying that we “will never make it”; and of course, anticipate that we will just get tired and give up. Well, here’s a newsflash for them: women are resilient. Women that own businesses have a deep-rooted passion and a very strong desire to succeed. They will try to figure out ways to make it work, all while juggling many other responsibilities at home and in their lives.

According to the Small Business Association (SBA), women-owned businesses are growing, along with their importance. Women are a key to our nation’s overall economic success an appear in every single industry group. It’s also important to note that in minority communities, there are higher shares of women-owned businesses, with women owning 59% of all African American businesses and 44% of all Hispanic businesses.

According to the SBO (Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners), 99.9% of women-owned businesses in the United States are considered small businesses, which means they are fewer than 500 employees. Thirty-six percent of all businesses are women-owned and account for 12% of all sales and 15% of employment. Women-owned businesses employ over 8.4 million workers and generate $264 billion in payroll…yes, $264 billion in payroll! There are an additional 2.5 million businesses that are owned equally by men and women, which account for an additional $189 billion in payroll for 6.5 million workers. Meaning, as majority and joint business owners, these “hobbyists” generate $2.5 trillion in sales.

So, the next time you hear of a woman starting a business, try not to turn your nose up at her, belittle or berate her, or dismiss the trails and tribulations she must endure to get her business up and running successfully. Support her dreams and passions by shopping at her store, and buyin her goods and services. Thank her for all she brings to the community.

I salute all the women business owners of our community and I am more than proud to be one of those strong-willed women entrepreneurs!

Happy Mothers Day.

– AnneMarie