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When one of those women — Virginia Littlejohn — approached me last year to ask if we would consider devoting a section of this issue of the magazine to reflect on the history of the women’s business movement since the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, I was more than happy to say yes.
So many of these wonderful, brilliant women leaders have passed their 70th birthdays now, and while we expect all of them to continue leading the way for many more years to come, Virginia was quick to point out that getting our history down on paper is so important.
The U.S. continues to lead the way in the remarkable growth in the size and scope of women-owned businesses. Virginia also felt it was important to share some of the history of several of the key organizations that have been instrumental in that growth over the past two decades. So we have devoted 15 pages to this important topic and hope that our readers find value — as we do — in celebrating our shared history.
Entrepreneurial leader Babson College’s Donna Kelley also shares her insights in this issue based on research published in the most recent GEM Report. Among the findings, while the U.S. reports the highest rate of female entrepreneurship compared with advanced economies in Asia and Europe, there are seven economies where women are equally likely (or more likely) to be entrepreneurs than men, including Panama, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, Nigeria, Mexico, and Uganda.
Remarkably, The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2012 Women’s Report estimates there are 126 million women who were starting or running new businesses in the 67 economies studied.
We are also very proud to include a report from Dr. Sharon Hadary — a pioneering woman in her own right — on the significant difference that Springboard Enterprises has made in helping innovative women-led companies obtain the venture funding they needed to grow from small to big businesses. We celebrate Springboard co-founder Kay Koplovitz on the front cover, but we equally celebrate Springboard President Amy Millman for the outstanding achievement of helping 537 women raise $6.2 billion to grow their businesses.
This issue is a celebration of so many outstanding leaders who make us all proud. Enjoy!