Did you know that women over 45 years of age are the secret to a strong(er) global economy? Bet you didn’t. It seems more likely that you’ve read about this demographic feeling marginalized and ‘invisible’. We get super cringey ourselves thinking of these sad old souls sitting at home sweating through hot flashes. And then we become immediately and wildly incensed in realizing that we are supposedly part of this ghost-like cohort. “Wait, not, us?” we think.
Surely our GenXer peers (as of 2020 now all in their 40’s and 50’s) aren’t wearing elastic pants and letting it go to pot? We are the MTV Generation, slackers, troublemakers; and will never stop wearing our Converse and jeans; expecting to be grandmas singing … “I said a hip hop /
Hippie to the hippie / The hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it out.”
And we have Madonna as our queen and Jennifer Aniston still looking pretty hot and winning awards. Not to mention Nancy Pelosi who is single handedly holding our country together while wearing heals and lipstick. But here is the real news: older women are both the most powerful consumers, as well as, the most prolific creators of small businesses.
Big Opportunity, Little Funding
According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), if male and female entrepreneurs were equally supported, it would boost the economy from $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion.
And, by ‘equal’ support, the suggestion is both funding and networks to help bolster women’s efforts. The underfunding of women entrepreneurs is well reported and no surprise. According to Pitchbook, in 2018, female-only founded businesses received just 2.3% of the total capital invested in US-based venture-backed startups.
Winning By Backing Women
Of course, there are copious amount of research to suggest that in general, having women in leadership makes a company more successful; but even at paltry (yet growing) investment levels, women are taking less time to exit. And less time to exit means better outcomes for those investors overlooking female-led opportunities.
In the two years following a new CEO appointment, the stock price for companies that appointed female chief executives outperformed those that appointed men by an average of 20%, the data showed.“When Women Lead, Firms Win,” S&P Global, October 16, 2019.
Women Over 45: Ubiquitous & Influential
There is a lot of talk about venture funding (which in any instance can be biased toward the young), but back to where we started is this fact: women are creating new businesses at an accelerated rate. And what often goes unmentioned is that the majority of these businesses are owned by women over 45.
In fact, according to American Express’s ‘Eighth Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report’ (Aug 21, 2018) 67% of women-owned businesses are run by those 45 years of age and older. And 50% are between 45 and 65 years old.
And if these businesses were supported in a bigger way, the impact would be significant:
Women-owned businesses are driving economic growth in the United States. They represent 42% of all businesses — nearly 13 million —employing 9.4 million workers and generating revenue of $1.9 trillion. Yet there is a significant size disparity between these businesses and others. Closing the gap benefits everyone, not just women. More goods and services bought and sold grows the economy.American Express, 2019 “State of Women-Owned Business Report”
So what is stopping growth? Women need access to capital. They also need support. And this support should come from everyone — men and women alike. Women are connectors and should use their personal networks and influence more strategically. To help themselves and help others. We could all be thinking how we can radically redefine the landscape and reimagine a world where women are equally represented.