MA’s Woman-Led Firms Growing, Well-Represented in Tech Industries

Woman-led businesses in Massachusetts are outpacing state and national growth averages, and are less concentrated in lifestyle or retail sectors than their national counterparts, according to a report unveiled today by Babson College and the nonprofit Commonwealth Institute. Indeed, female-helmed firms are particularly well represented in tech and life sciences industries.

The report is based on data from the sixth year of an annual survey of firms with female chief executives. “Woman-run companies have consistently outpaced the local and national growth rates for the six years of our study despite the economic conditions,” said study co-author I. Elaine Allen, Associate Professor of Statistics & Entrepreneurship at Babson College, in a press release. In 2006, over 60 percent of the firms grew by more than five percent; the average for all firms in Massachusetts was 3.3 percent, and the national average was 3.1 percent. Still, woman-led firms comprise just 2.7 percent of Massachusetts’ total.

Another point highlighted in the study is that Massachusetts’ women-led companies buck the national trend of focusing mainly in retail and real estate. Rather, they are most heavily represented in professional services (38 percent), high tech (9.8 percent), construction (8.5 percent), travel and leisure (7.8 percent), and health care, pharmaceuticals, and medical products (7.2 percent). Indeed, two of the top 5 women-run Massachusetts firms are in technology industries:

Company Chief Executive Revenue ($ millions) Employees Industry
Cumberland Farms Lily Bentas, Chairman and CEO 6,000.0 9,000 Convenience stores and gasoline retailing
AGAR Supply Karen Bressler, CEO 485.0 370 Food products supplier
Millennium Pharmaceuticals Deborah Dunsire, President and CEO 480.0 1,200 Biopharmaceuticals
Axcelis Technologies Mary Puma, Chairman and CEO 462.0 1,600 Semiconductor equipment
Garber Travel Roz Garber, President and CEO 417.0 332 Travel agency

The full list of the top 100 woman-led businesses is here.

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