By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Women have come a long way since Rosie the Riveter.

Female-owned businesses have actually been one of the few bright spots in the otherwise dismal economy. The number of small businesses owned by women is growing 1.5 times the rate of other businesses. By 2018, they are expected to create up to 5.5 million new jobs.

So what leads to the success of these businesses? Some suggest it may lie in the gene pool.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

“Women are able to step back and look at the big picture,” explained small business consultant Kathleen Thurmond. “Women are flexible. They’re able to think about ten things at once,” she added.

Kathy Wiley knows what it’s like to build a successful business from the ground up. She is the CEO of chocolate confection company Poco Dolce.

“The first five years I did it completely on my own,” she said. “I made the product. I packaged the product. I delivered the product. I marketed the product.”

Once any new business gets off the ground, women need to harness new skills.

“One of the things they need to learn is negotiation skills. Put together a plan, but don’t do it alone,” Thurmond explained. “As your company grows, you can’t do it all. You really need to hire smart.”

That was an important lesson for Kathy.

“When I first hired staff, it really was a challenge,” she said. “Not only do you have to let go of that which you had complete control of before, you have to accept the changes that they bring. Not everyone is going to produce the chocolate the way I did.”

A recent study finds that many women start their own businesses, in part, because they run into the glass ceiling in their jobs.

“I have not yet reached any glass ceilings,” Kathy said. “That’s part of the beauty of owning your own business.”

There are several professional organizations geared toward helping women who own their own businesses:


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