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Answering questions such as “Why am I the best?” or “How much am I worth to my company?” is difficult for many women who own or lead businesses.  Research has shown that women entrepreneurs tend to undervalue the worth that they bring to their companies and have lower growth aspirations for their businesses than do their male counterparts.

These issues have had an impact on women-owned business in the US.  Both women-owned and women-led businesses underperform businesses owned or operated by men in terms of revenue.  In the US, women own approximately 30 percent of all privately held firms, yet women-owned businesses capture only 11 percent of all receipts. Existing data reveals that women-owned businesses tend to concentrate in lower-receipt industries.  Furthermore, female entrepreneurs are concentrating in “female-type” businesses within each industry, which are less profitable and require less start-up capital.  In the high-tech industry, for example, most of the women-owned firms concentrate in the service sector (health care, social assistance, educational and retail trade service sectors).  A critical problem is that gender stereotypes deter women from entering certain fields of education or work. 

The expert advice and industry perspectives from successful women entrepreneurs you will find on this website offer negotiation strategies and practical information to help you become aware of and avoid these common pitfalls. Students in Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College produced the research and designed the content for the Negotiation Toolkit as part of their one semester Systems Synthesis project in Fall 2013.  The team consisted of Salwa Al-Mannai, Whitney Coble, Elise Hawthorne, Alexis McCune, Elena Gutierrez, Shanae Phillips, and Aadam Soorma.  Silvia Borzutzky, Ph.D., served as the team’s faculty advisor.

The full research report on “Expanding the Role of Women-Owned Business in the U.S.” can be found here.