Gov. Greg Abbott Sep. 28, 2015, 1:36pm


If every woman-owned business in America were able to add just one new job tomorrow, the nation would reach full employment.

Women business owners are a powerful economic force, and my goal is to make Texas the most welcoming home for them. That is the message I will share today with the National Association of Women Business Owners in San Antonio as the organization celebrates 40 years of encouraging women entrepreneurs.

There are over 9.4 million women-owned businesses in the nation, employing over 7.9 million people and generating nearly $1.5 trillion in revenues according to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses study from American Express OPEN and Womenable.

Women are now majority owners of nearly one in three U.S. firms, and 887 net new women-owned enterprises open every day.

Unsurprisingly, many of these startups are finding the freedom to flourish in Texas.

The Lone Star State is second only to California in the number of women-owned businesses, but they are growing at a rate well ahead of both California and New York. In fact, businesses owned by women in Texas are growing at more than twice the rate of all firms nationwide.

Women cite the vision for an idea as the top motivation for going into business for themselves in a survey by the National Association of Women Business Owners. We see that same entrepreneurial passion here in Texas, and women are making gains in every industry sector.

Here are just three success stories from San Antonio.

Securing financing was a challenge June Bratcher faced when she started her business at her kitchen table with just $200 in grocery money. Daisy Charter and Shuttles has since grown to a million-dollar enterprise with nationwide service and more than 50 employees.

Finding expert answers to help her “fast forward through business mistakes” was a struggle for Darlene Kirk, CEO and founder of Kirk’s Global Compass. Today, with a staff of 21 at her marketing and professional services company, she encourages other women business owners to take advantage of peer-to-peer support systems.

Competing for government contracts designated for small businesses helped Julissa Carielo gain credibility when she launched her construction business. Honored as the Small Business Owner of the Year by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce last year, she now employs a team of 50 at Tejas Premier Building Contractor Inc. and gives back to the community.

There are more success stories like these every day all across Texas. San Antonio is the top metro area in the nation not only for the number of women-owned firms, but also for the jobs they create and their economic clout. Dallas is second in number, and Houston is No. 1 in revenue and fourth in number.

That success is diverse. Texas is second in the nation in the number of Latina-owned businesses and third in the number of businesses owned by African-American women and by Asian-American women.And as I noted on my recent trip to Mexico to promote expanded trade, businesses owned by Hispanic women in Texas will create more jobs this year than those in New York, California or any other state.

Whether launching a micro-enterprise employing the proprietor only or a small business hiring other employees, women are looking for the same opportunities as all entrepreneurs: more access to capital, fewer barriers to entry and greater freedom to grow.

Texas offers more of these growth opportunities for women business-builders:

•Texas imposes no personal income tax and no corporate income tax, and we just cut the business franchise tax by 25 percent.

•We are speeding up permitting processes and have eliminated occupational licensing fees for more than 600,000 Texas professionals.

•Occupational license and exam fees are now waived for veterans with the required education, training and experience gained in the military, and new veteran-owned business are exempt from franchise taxes for the first 5 years.

•My office hosts Small Businesses Forums in communities around the state offering expert advice on financing, networking, marketing and more.

•We are also connecting Texas business women to resources offered by government agencies and private entities through the Governor’s Commission for Women.

•And I proudly approved $2.2 million in funding this legislative session to establish a Center for Women in Business at Texas Women’s University in Denton to provide more of the tools needed to succeed.

Women investing in themselves represent one of the greatest potentials for job growth, and my goal as governor is to make Texas the No. 1 state for women-owned businesses.

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