Diversity is the spice of life and Texas knows that diversity in business benefits everyone. The state currently ranks No. 2 in the nation for women-owned business and No. 2 for growth. In order to give you a better picture of how Texas ranks, let’s look at the number of women-owned firms nationwide: there are over 9.4 million women-owned businesses in the US. Over 800,000 of those women-owned businesses reside in Texas, according to the 2015 State of the Women-Owned Business Study from American Express OPEN.
Governor and First Lady Abbott have set the bar high when it comes to supporting Texas women, and they have plans to make Texas the top state for women-owned businesses. “Women-owned businesses are crucial to our state’s economy and play an important role in the future of Texas,” says First Lady Cecilia Abbott.
While Gov. Abbott has fed a lot of resources into supporting women in business, he recently approved $2.2 million in funding to establish a Center for Women in Business at Texas Women’s University in Denton to provide women the tools they need to succeed. And the Governor’s Commission for Women promotes and advances the status of women through research and advocacy activities, recognition of outstanding Texas women, and professional development training for state employees.
“Our office has a focus on economic development and job creation because of Governor Abbott’s restructuring in the Economic development and Tourism Division last year,” says LaChristian Taylor, Executive Director of the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women. “My office helps connect Texas business women to resources offered by government agencies and private entities.”
Three out of the top ten metro areas for women-owned firms are located in Texas: San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. The trend in growth sales from 1997 to 2015 shows Texas at 95.5 percent change, bringing in over $120 million in sales according to the American Express OPEN: Summary of Important Trends. When ranking the growth in number and economic clout, Texas women-owned businesses dominate.
GMC Consultants is a minority women-owned project management company that got its start in Houston ten years ago. The company initially focused on disaster case management and housing recovery services, but is now recognized as an industry leader in business. GMC has assisted thousands of Texans though case management services and referral services and won a 2015 Governor’s Small Business Award.
Across this great state, women with dreams are finding the support they need to make things happen.
“It’s important to find a good mentor, especially for women business owners,” says Taylor. “Success often hinges on getting the right advice or support. And I encourage women entrepreneurs to find someone who listens. Look for someone who has walked the walk.”
Tell me about Taste Elevated and how the company started.
We are a specialty food manufacturer based in South Texas. Our company is almost three years old and is family-run and operated. We started the company by making fig chutney from fig trees in our back yard. I discovered a passion for creating and canning unique products. I loved it so much that I told my husband I wanted to start a company doing just that; six months later, we created Taste Elevated, a line of six products that launched in our first grocery store. Now, you can find our products on the shelves of grocery stores across the nation.
Why did you choose to start your business in Texas?
We were raised in Texas. We love it here — its home to us. We lived in Washington, D.C. for our careers for a few years and loved it. Once our first baby came into this world, we had to head back to our roots. So we are raising our family here and would choose no other place to raise our business.
What resources/support did Texas provide throughout
the startup process?
We used our local Economic Development Office at the University of Texas in San Antonio as a resource to help us with a business plan, forecasting and finding a lender. We received the Governor’s Small Business Award from Greg Abbott which provided wonderful visibility for our company and brand.
Congressman Will Hurd and his staff have also been tremendously supportive and advocates of not only our small company but all small companies in Texas. They are dedicated to making the huge task of managing a small business easier and are always offering any resource they can find to do so.
What are some future goals for your business?
We moved into our own manufacturing facility close to a year ago. We now have much more freedom to produce what we want, when we want. We are focused on growing our company by expanding our retail and food service operations. We are constantly developing new products and always striving to make that next hit product.