They work full time to pay bills, feed their children, clean their homes, and then help with homework at the end of the day. They manage the family finances, take care of their husbands, attend PTA’s, and take care of loved ones. They are our mothers, they are our wives, they are our sisters, yes they are America’s women, a force to be reckoned with and the most entrepreneurial in the world.
Though women in America account for about 30 percent of all business ownership in the United States, they employ over 7 percent of American workers. Women owned businesses will account for one-third of new jobs created by 2018. (Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute)
But statistics aside, one must look past mere numbers to look at the real lives who make a difference each in everyday. That’s where you will meet Carla Brown in Middlesboro along highway 25, one women who is making a difference to those she employs. She runs and operates Southern Monument, a provider of memorial tombstones, but obviously to her its so much more.
Her small office is not fancy but personable, filled with memorial samples, “I have compassion for the community” said Carla, “I have noticed the need to affordably memorialize family members, and offer one on one personal service relationships to grieving families and treat each of them like my own family.” But Carla knows the unique challenge women owned businesses face.
Despite the inroads of success women-owned businesses have made through the years, women face sex discrimination and find it more difficult to obtain capital compared to their male counterpart. Moreover, excessive taxes and regulations from federal and state governments’ burden many business owners along with excessive licensing requirements designed to keep competition at bay. Many women close up shop permanently along with their dreams because they can’t overcome. Women also face dual career-family pressures that most men don’t face, mostly evident with single parent households where women must decide if they can risk starting a new business, or if they would have the time to put in to it.
But it doesn’t perturb Carla from following her dreams, fighting on despite being much smaller and facing tough competition. “It’s hard being a female in a male dominated industry” Carla says. But she’s earned the respect of her employees and vendors alike despite being a women owner.
But there are advantages of women that are inherent. Not only do they have an uncanny ability to network, they have skills in being the best negotiators along with their ability to multi-task. Because they bring their experiences in matters of budgeting personal family finances into their businesses, they can pinch a penny better then any male counter part.
As so many women before her, Carla has achieved her American dream, but they know it’s grounded in what’s really important in owning a business. “I’m not out to be a millionaire or to line my pockets” said Carla, “I’m out to make a living for my family, and I’m out to create a quality respectful service.”