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NH's New Leadership: Nancy Pearson
Published Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Nationally, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45 percent between 2007 and 2016, far outpacing the 9 percent increase experienced among all businesses, according to American Express’s “The State of Women-Owned Businesses” 2016 report. And revenue at women-led businesses has grown 35 percent during that time, above the 27 percent increase in revenue among all U.S. firms. And, in February, CNBC declared women entrepreneurs would become “the economic force to reckon with” in 2017.

Despite such gains, there’s a colossal gender gap when it comes to who starts and leads businesses, which the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) in Nashua seeks to close. The multistate nonprofit is run in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide services to women entrepreneurs. Recently, the state chapter of the CWE hired Nancy Pearson as its new director. “I’m really excited about it. It’s an incredible opportunity," Pearson says of being able to help women become economically independent. Asked why women are a smaller percentage of entrepreneurs, Pearson says women are still not at parity when it comes to being able to access resources and capital for starting a business.          

She says many women start service-oriented  businesses—such as child care centers, health care or personal care— as well as consulting businesses. However, she says those businesses are not eligible for business tax credits, putting them at a financial disadvantage from other types of businesses that are eligible. And she points out those businesses often do not attract the attention of venture capitalists. Pearson, a former educator with 20 years of nonprofit management experience, says the CWE can connect women with resources to facilitate success. CWE offers training for entrepreneurs whether they are in startup mode or in a growth phase, from mastering the elevator pitch to writing a compelling business proposal to effective leadership practices. 

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