Market Overview

Women Entrepreneurs Are Leading the Digital Transformation, According to Bank of America Study


Women Business Owners More Confident About Revenue Prospects Compared
to Last Year; See Long-Term Progress on Access to Capital While
Acknowledging Current Challenges

Women entrepreneurs are increasingly optimistic about the future and
leading the digital transformation, according to the 2018
Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight

The annual study of more than 1,000 entrepreneurs across the country
found increased confidence toward future revenue growth, as 58 percent
of women entrepreneurs expect their revenue to increase in the year
ahead – up 14 percentage points from 2017. Optimism toward long-term
growth, hiring and the economy is also on the rise.

The study found 56 percent of women plan to grow their business over the
next five years (up 2 percentage points from 2017). In the shorter term,
21 percent of women plan to hire more employees (also up 2 percentage
points from 2017). Continuing this optimistic trend, women business
owners' economic projections have been increasingly more positive since

  • Forty-nine percent expect their local economy to improve (up 4
    percentage points from 2017 and up 12 percentage points from 2016).
  • Forty-eight percent expect the national economy to improve (up 4
    percentage points from 2017 and up 23 percentage points from 2016).

"When it comes to small business, women entrepreneurs are at the
forefront of the digital transformation," said Sharon Miller, managing
director and head of Small Business, Bank of America. "It is exciting to
see how they are innovating and leveraging mobile tools to help their
businesses succeed. Their increased optimism about the future and the
potential for hiring and growth is also very encouraging."

Women business owners leading digital transformation

With half of small business owners foreseeing a complete transition to
digital payments in the next five years, it is women who are leading the
charge in using mobile devices to process payments and manage other
transactions. The survey found that 33 percent of women entrepreneurs
use a mobile device to process digital financial transactions, compared
to 26 percent of men. Of those conducting business transactions on
mobile devices, women business owners lead men on specific-use cases as

  • Accepting mobile payments from customers (71 percent of women versus
    65 percent of men).
  • Issuing refunds to customers (29 percent of women versus 19 percent of
  • Paying employees (19 percent of women versus 14 percent of men).

Beyond digital payments, women entrepreneurs are also ahead of the curve
in managing other aspects of their business on their mobile devices,
including social media updates and hiring:

  • Social media updates (44 percent of women versus 33 percent of men).
  • Hiring (12 percent of women versus 8 percent of men).

Barriers to business ownership and accessing capital

This year's survey also examined women's perspectives on barriers to
establishing and financing a small business – including the extent to
which gender bias may play a role. Sixty-one percent of women
entrepreneurs say it was more difficult for them to get their business
off the ground than it was for male business owners they know.
Sixty-eight percent say women face greater challenges than men when it
comes to accessing capital.

Despite this, a strong majority believe conditions for women-owned
businesses to start up and succeed have gotten better over the long
term, with 84 percent reporting their belief that access to capital for
women has improved in the last 10 years.

To continue progress in this area, the greatest number of women (42
percent) believe gender-blind financing (where the gender of an
applicant seeking investment or loan funding is not known) has the
greatest potential to level the playing field for equal access to
capital. Runners-up on the list were more opportunities for education
and training (24 percent) and access to government loan programs (16

"Access to capital is key to small business growth, but research shows
that it can be tougher for women entrepreneurs than for men," continued
Miller. "The fact that the overwhelming majority of women business
owners see progress in the last 10 years is encouraging. Bank of America
intends to do our part to keep the momentum going by continuing to
support and lend to women-owned businesses because their talents, ideas
and leadership in the marketplace are essential."

For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of women small business
owners, read the 2018
Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight

Bank of America Business Advantage Women Business Owner Spotlight
Public Communications & Social Science conducted the Bank of America
Women Business Owner Spotlight survey for 2018 online between February
12 and March 26, 2018 using a pre-recruited online sample of small
business owners. GfK contacted a national sample of 1,031 small business
owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and
$4,999,999 and employing between two and 99 employees. In addition, a
total of approximately 300 small business owners were also surveyed in
each of 10 target markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston,
Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The
sample was comprised of 655 male and 376 female small business owners.
The final results were weighted to national benchmark standards for
size, revenue and region.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's leading
financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and
middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of
banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk
management products and services. The company provides unmatched
convenience in the United States, serving approximately 67 million
consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,400 retail
financial centers, including more than 1,700 lending centers, more than
1,900 Merrill Edge investment centers and more than 1,300 business
centers; approximately 16,100 ATMs; and award-winning digital banking
with approximately 36 million active users, including 25 million mobile
users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management,
corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of
asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and
individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading
support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite
of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company
serves clients through operations across the United States, its
territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation
stock (NYSE:BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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