Women owned businesses lacking in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Women owned businesses lacking in Iowa

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Women are having a tough time making it in business, according to a new American Express study. The study shows that Iowa is the worst in the nation for women owning businesses because of a lack of mentors for women, and entrepreneurs in general. The state's largest industries are highly concentrated in male-dominated areas such as finance, manufacturing and farming.

Businesses owned by women only contribute four percent of total U.S. business revenues or $1.3 trillion dollars. They employ roughly 7.7 million people across the country or just 6 percent of total employment.

In Cedar Falls those numbers don't mean much as business after business is owned and operated by a woman.

"We have over half of our retail businesses are woman owned several more are partnership with a husband and wife team. We have a very thriving environment for women business owners," said Community Main Street Director, Carol Lilly.

Emily Tindall is the manager of Lyla's Boutique on Main Street in Cedar Falls. She hopes to venture out on her own someday with her own business.

Lyla's boutique manager - "I would love to be able to do that and I think seeing other women out there opening their own stores and being successful is motivation for me," said Tindall.

Julie Shimek is the owner of three businesses on Main Street. She owns Vintage Iron, Pursuing Picasso, and her new business Luna, which features art and wine.

"I guess it's the customers. They really support our endeavors and anytime we see a new need for a business or one has closed and you knew customers really enjoyed it, we try to fill in that void," said Shimek.

But Shimek admits that juggling three businesses is far from easy.

"Behind the scenes it's a lot of hard work that most people don't think is there. They think it looks so easy on the front end, but there's a lot of late nights and hard work," said Shimek.

Despite how well downtown Cedar Falls is doing, state officials say they are worried about the results of the American Express study.

There's only one state program that provides assistance to female business owners. It's called the Targeted Small Business Program and it reaches out to women as well as minority-owned businesses.

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