It's not a man's world anymore. Women-owned businesses account for nearly 30 percent of all companies in the U.S. and aren't slowing down, according to the annual ranking of the Top 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies by The Women Presidents' Organization.
The fifth-annual ranking includes businesses from all over North America that generated a combined $4 billion in revenue in 2011 and employed 26,883 people.
"This year’s Top 50 list is our most diverse ranking ever, with 20 states represented and companies ranging from precious metal dealers to food service distributors," Marsha Firestone, president and founder of the WPO, said in a statement.
The top five fastest-growing women-owned companies are:
1. BrightStar Care -- Gurnee, Ill. (CEO Shelly Sun)
2. Cenergy International Services -- Houston, Texas (CEO June Ressler)
3. Shear Enterprises -- St. Petersburg, Fla. (CEO Rhonda Shear)
4. Rose International -- Chesterfield, Mo. (CEO Sue Bhatia)
5. Strategic Communications -- Louisville, Ky. (CEO Kathy Mills)
Notably, the top two companies both doubled their revenue over the past two years, according to the report. Among the top 50, the average revenue from 2007 to 2011 grew from $31.5 million to $80.1 million. Ninety percent of the businesses were founded by women, with the average age being 49. Fourteen of the top 50 businesses are owned by women of color and the average number of projected employees for 2012 is 691.
Those in the top 50 ranking will receive a $500 American Express gift card and be honored at an awards dinner co-sponsored by American Express OPEN and the WPO.