WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Women entrepreneurs start small businesses based on market opportunity, family considerations and necessity, according to new survey data from SCORE, the nation's largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors.

SCORE's 2018 Megaphone of Main Street: Women's Entrepreneurship Report surveyed women entrepreneurs ages 18 to 65+, from diverse ethnicities, geographic areas and industries about their successes and challenges in running small businesses. The data showed:

Women entrepreneurs decide when to start businesses based on market opportunity, family considerations and necessity:

  • Among millennials, the greatest percentage (27.8%) reported starting a business when they did because they saw an opportunity in the market. One such respondent said, "I had an idea and decided it was the time to build it."
  • Among Generation Xers, the greatest percentage (25.8%) cited family considerations as most influential on their decisions about when to start businesses, with one respondent saying, "It coincided with when we decided to start our family."
  • Among baby boomers the greatest percentage (28.2%) reported starting their businesses out of necessity. One such respondent commented, "I was going to be laid off from a job of 22 years with no pension."

Women are starting small businesses in all industries, with the five most popular being:

  • 29.4%: Professional services
  • 14.1%: Health care and social assistance
  • 12.5%: Retail sale and trade
  • 8.9%: Educational services
  • 8.2%: Hospitality, travel, restaurant and food services

Prior education and experience are the top factors influencing women entrepreneurs' choices of industry:

  • 45% of women said they chose their business industry based on their prior experience and education.
  • 31% chose their industry based on passion.
  • 15% saw an opportunity in that industry.
  • 6% chose to help others.

A majority of women entrepreneurs self-finance their small businesses:

  • 73% of women said they were self-financing their small businesses, with some survey respondents commenting that they did not seek financing because they considered it impossible to attain.
  • 27% of women sought outside financing for their small businesses. One respondent commented that she wanted to build business credit, while another wanted to expand and grow faster than she could without financing.

For more information on women entrepreneurs, download the The Megaphone of Main Street: Women's Entrepreneurship Report and this infographic on women's motivations for going into business.

About The Megaphone of Main Street
SCORE's Megaphone of Main Street data report series presents original, statistically-significant survey data on the American small business landscape. Survey data was collected from 20,000 small business owners in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., representing small businesses of varied sizes in a broad coverage of industries.

Previous sections of this data report have highlighted the success that women entrepreneurs have achieved despite financing challenges, as well as the impact of mentoring on business success.