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Woman of the Year

Competitive, compassionate and visionary, today's women business owners refuse to be ignored. Find out how they're making their mark.

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This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The traditional image of women-owned businesses as small, slow-growing and consumer-directed is being annihilated. They start small but grow faster than the overall business expansion rate, selling not just to consumers, but, overwhelmingly, to other businesses. And they sell services just as much as stuff.

Between 1997 and 2002-the most recent figures compiled by the Washington, DC-based Center for Women's Business Research (CWBR)-the number of privately-held businesses owned by women grew 11 percent, compared to an overall rate of 6 percent. Women-owned businesses saw their revenues grow by 32 percent in the same period, compared to an overall rate of 24 percent.

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