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More Women Are Opening Food Businesses Than Ever in New York, Study Says

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Who run the world?

Birds and Bubbles
Birds and Bubbles
Daniel Krieger

A new report shows a significant growth in women-owned businesses in New York's food and hospitality industries — a change that's driving up the city's overall economy. The Center for an Urban Future, an NYC think tank studies the economy, looked at the changes in a study called Breaking Through: Harnessing the Economic Potential of Women EntrepreneursIn it, they examined the rise of women entrepreneurs in NYC across 15 industries, including retail, transportation, and education, and found that the food services industry had a 45 percent growth in women-owned businesses between 2007 and 2012. The industry ranked fifth in growth for women, with about 4,000 new women-owned food businesses over the course of the five years.

Still, the study suggests that women are making headway in smaller businesses rather than New York’s high end restaurant scene. Bakeries and kitchen incubators, or companies dedicated to helping start-up catering, retail, and wholesale food businesses, have been driving the women-owned business numbers up, versus upscale restaurants.

That doesn't mean women in the food and hospitality industry aren't contributing to the conversation around food. Between 2007 and 2012, hits such as Umber Ahmad's Mah ze Dahr Bakery and Amanda Cohen's Dirt Candy have burst onto the scene. "In the course of conducting economic studies, we kept running to these amazing women entrepreneurs who were starting some of the city's most innovative businesses, but also facing unique challenges," says Amy Parker, spokeswoman for the center. "We thought we needed to tell this story." Check out the full report here.