A century ago, the concept of women-owned business was a novel idea. Although it took many years to get to this point, woman owned franchises are common in 2021.

I estimate that just about half the people I work with as a franchise coach are women. For a woman who wants to become a business owner, franchising provides a great ownership opportunity.



The number of women-owned businesses has grown significantly over the last few decades. In 1972, women-owned companies represented just 4.6 percent of all businesses. Today, that number has skyrocketed to 42 percent, according to a 2019 report by American Express. The same report indicated 1,817 new women owned businesses were created every day in 2019.

As I work with a nearly even number of male and female franchise candidates, I have noticed some different philosophies in how men and women approach ownership opportunities. In my experience, I have found that men look for situations in which they can dominate a market and build an empire by owning multiple franchises. Women tend to be more pragmatic in their approach when they start. They look for something that is a good fit and meets their goals and objectives.

I’ve personally seen situations where the women-owned business has been so large and profitable that their husbands have quit their jobs and worked for their wife’s franchise business. Women often take a level-headed approach to entering franchise ownership and build strong businesses.

One of the benefits of franchise ownership that can be appealing to women is having greater flexibility to balance home and family life. While being the boss requires a considerable amount of hard work and dedication, it also affords the freedom to create a schedule where you can attend family events and afterschool activities. That can be very attractive for women who also wish to focus time on raising their

Although we like to think there is equity regarding male and female business ownership, certain industries are more likely to attract female franchise owners.

However, there are always exceptions. Women are more likely to gravitate toward businesses in the health, fitness, beauty, child, and educational sectors. There are a lot of food and gift franchises, such as Edible Arrangements or Candy Bouquet, which are predominantly owned by women.

Conversely, there are other industries that tend to have more male business owners. They tend to involve more hands-on work and physical labor and are generally less interesting to women. Examples of these fields are plumbing, HVAC or lawn services. These trends are more reflective of the industry as a whole and not just
franchise ownership.

In the world of franchising, the playing field is close to level when it comes to financing. Being female does not seem to deliver any obvious underwriting advantages or disadvantages. Investing in a business simply comes down to what one can afford. From an operational, training, sales or managerial point of view, I can’t think of any inherent advantages or disadvantages based on gender. Franchising tends to be fair either way when it comes to male or female ownership.

One thing that can be a valuable resource for female franchisees are the number of programs providing help and support for women in franchising. One example is the Women’s Franchise Committee, which was established 25 years ago by the International Franchise Association. Many of these groups do an excellent job
in developing networking opportunities and providing support for women within the franchise community. Some of these associations are also available by region.

I would recommend women franchises become involved in those programs because a lot of the members are focused on helping others through exchanging ideas, resources, and experience.

Luckily, the future is bright when it comes to franchise opportunities for women, with plenty of room for growth. Statistics show in the world of employment that women don’t earn the same salary as men or get promotions at the same rate. That is not the case with business ownership. There hasn’t been a glass ceiling and I don’t think there will be one in the future.

We’ve seen considerable growth in women owned franchises in recent years and I expect that to continue. Women own or co-own about 265,000 franchises, which is about 35 percent of all U.S. franchises. That’s about a 24 percent rise from 10 years ago. Everything seems to be moving in a positive direction.


Rick Bisio is one of the countries most respected franchise coaches and author of the Amazon best seller, The Educated Franchise – 3rd Edition. Since becoming a franchise coach in 2002, Bisio has assisted thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs nationwide explore the dream of business ownership.