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 FarmsLily Bentas, Chairman and CEO6,000.09,000Convenience stores and gasoline retailing
AGAR SupplyKaren Bressler, CEO485.0370Food products supplier
Millennium PharmaceuticalsDeborah Dunsire, President and CEO480.01,200Biopharmaceuticals
Axcelis TechnologiesMary Puma, Chairman and CEO462.01,600Semiconductor equipment
Garber TravelRoz Garber, President and CEO417.0332Travel agency

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

Rebecca is Xconomy's co-founder. Follow @

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