Get to know a few of the 13 million women-owned businesses

Nationwide, 42% of all businesses are owned by women. That a startling transformation in 50 years.

In the March issue of the Herald Business Journal, the focus is on women in business.

Diane Symms, the founder of Lombardi’s Italian Restaurants, a regional chain, can remember when a woman couldn’t get a business loan without her husband’s signature.

In the early 1970s, when Symms opened her first restaurant, a Seattle sandwich shop, fewer than 5% of businesses were owned by women.

Now women-owned businesses represent 42%, according to the “2019 State of Women-Owned Business” published by American Express.

Between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses nationwide climbed 21% to a total of nearly 13 million. Revenue rose 21% to $1.9 trillion, according to the report.

One trend to watch is the growth of part-time entrepreneurship.

The description might apply to Kelly Jane Heindel’s first year or two in business.

The young entrepreneur was 26 when she founded Green Heron Boat Detail, an Everett boat-detailing business, five years ago.

To keep herself and the business afloat, Heindel worked part time at restaurant jobs. Now she sometimes picks up temporary gigs in the winter when business is slow, but Heindel is a full-time operator.

Sharon Tolbert started her business, Grandma’s in da Kitchen, an Everett soul food and comfort food restaurant, seven months ago. She looks forward to remodeling her restaurant and adding employees — and nicer weather so she can move a stack of outdoor tables to the patio.

Gina Morken and Carmen Best took over their father’s precision machining company after he died in 2008. The two sisters had worked side-by-side with their dad since the late 1990s.

Like other aerospace firms, their Mukilteo company, New Tech Industries, is trying to weather the crisis posed by the Boeing 737 Max and Boeing’s decision earlier this year to halt production of the Renton-built airplane.

Interested in starting a business — full or part-time?

Economic Alliance Snohomish County offers comprehensive information about starting or purchasing a business, including resources for businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans.

SCORE provides free business advice and mentoring by volunteer business owners and executives. For more information, go to

• The Washington Small Business Development Center provides confidential, objective business advice at no cost to small business owners. Go to or email Janet Toth at

TheLab@Everett, a resource for new and existing businesses, offers mentoring, networking and help with product development and marketing. They’re in Everett at 1001 N. Broadway, Suite A 3. TheLab is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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