With a diverse population of 13 million and expanding, greater Los Angeles is now the third largest metropolitan economy on the global front. In fact, if this sprawling district were a nation, its financial muscle would be the 19th largest in the world, according to data released by the County of Los Angeles. The Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development reports that LA’s manufacturing, clean technology, health sciences, international trade, tourism, fashion and entertainment industries are all helping to cultivate and nourish the region’s $700 billion gross domestic product.

Inside the nation’s largest county, more than 244,000 businesses are hard at work, with more women-owned companies in production than any other locale in America.

A recent state-of-women report, commissioned by American Express OPEN, reveals that the industries with the highest concentration of women-owned firms encompass health care and social assistance (53 percent), educational services (45 percent) and administrative, support and waste management services (44 percent). Of the 1.1 million women-owned businesses in California, more than 432,000 are located in metro LA.

The detailed summary was based on data received by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed by economic forecasters. Between 2002 and 2013, the number of women-founded-and-led enterprises in LA had grown by 25 percent, with collective annual sales revenue nearing $90 million. Riverside, which is part of greater LA, boasted a significant growth curve within the same timeframe. The rate of women erecting their own shingles in that citrus-producing enclave had spiked by as much as 49 percent.

If economic indicators remain on target, California will continue to lead the nation in the number of women-owned firms that are operated by a flourishing number of ethnic entrepreneurs. Between 1997 and 2013, the study reveals that the number of African-American women-owned businesses had ballooned by 124 percent. Following suit are Asian-American women and Latinas, who have aggressively moved into an enviable position of where the buck stops. A marked trend also shows that Native American/Alaska Native women are becoming successful captains of industry.

It is within LA’s flared skirt where persevering women are making their mark by exploring new frontiers of business accomplishment.

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.


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