Women own 6 percent of Louisiana’s midsized companies, matching the national average, while minorities own just 2 percent of them, or less than half the national average of 5 percent.
Numbers for both segments are growing more rapidly than average midsized companies.
The figures are included in a report by Dun & Bradstreet and American Express and are based on an analysis of nearly 19 million businesses in Dun & Bradstreet’s databases over the period of 2008 to 2014.
Louisiana has an estimated 1,789 middle-market firms, of which 103 are owned by women and 42 are owned by multicultural proprietors, the report said. Midsized companies’ revenues range from $10 million to $1 billion.
It’s unclear why Louisiana’s percentage of minority-owned business is lower than the national average.
There may be a stumbling block for minority-owned businesses, possibly because some relocated after Hurricane Katrina or suffered setbacks, said Julie R. Weeks, president and CEO of research and analytics firm Womenable.
The numbers, though low for minority-owned businesses, increased at a faster pace in the state than nationally, and faster than those for women-owned businesses from 2008 to 2014.
During that period, the number of minority-owned midsized firms jumped by 35 percent in the state, while the number of women-owned firms increased by 20 percent.
Those rates compare with a 22.1 percent increase nationally in minority-owned middle-market companies and a 23.6 percent gain in women-owned midsized companies.
Overall, women- and minority-owned businesses are entering the middle market at a much faster rate than the average business, the report shows. The number of all U.S. midsized businesses increased by 4.1 percent for the same period.
“It is exciting to see that women- and minority-owned businesses are now responsible for much of the dynamism in middle-market growth,” said Jeff Stibel, vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet.
Carol A. Newman, an attorney with offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, said there are a number of reasons for the growth in women-owned businesses.
“The renaissance that’s happening in southeast Louisiana in particular is, I think, directly affected by rebuilding after (hurricanes) Katrina and Rita,” Newman said. “We also have a generation of women coming into the workforce, and also some more experienced women who have reinvented themselves, that are using technology in a way that’s letting them grow their businesses a lot faster.”
In addition, women are getting better training and a better understanding of how to run a business, in part through networking and the efforts of groups like the American Business Women’s Association, Newman said. Newman belongs to the Baton Rouge and New Orleans chapters of the ABWA.
“It’s one thing to get a business started. It’s another thing to get it to grow,” Newman said.
Weeks said companies typically grow into the middle market in a few ways:
By expanding their customer base. This could mean moving beyond individuals and small businesses to supply large corporations or exporting.
Getting local, state or federal government contracts.
Alaska had the largest percentage of women-owned midsized companies at 13 percent and the second-largest percentage of minority-owned companies at 19 percent. Hawaii had the largest percentage of minority-owned midsized firms, with 21 percent.
Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.