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Report: More women becoming business owners

Starting her own business was a double win for Randi Hecht.

At her corporate gig, Hecht said, men often showed up late or spent time texting on the job, with no visible penalties. Women who did the same were chastised.

It created a rift between female employees and management and turned out to be a structure Hecht said didn’t work.

But now the owner of Intellitext, which provides live transcription for people with hearing problems, calls the shots without concern for being treated unfairly.

Hecht, 24, said she and her nine contracted employees often work from home and on flexible schedules, using Skype for business meetings or college lectures.

“If I hadn’t have done it I would be really unhappy with my life right now,” said Hecht, whose Reno-based corporation expanded to Las Vegas in January.

Intellitext is part of a growing national trend of women business owners, according to the third annual State of Women-Owned Business Report, released April 4.

Nevada is at the forefront, ranking third among states that showed growth in the number of women-owned firms, how many workers they employ, plus how much revenue they bring in. Here, 61,200 women-owned firms employ 63,700 people and prop up the state’s economy with $12 billion in revenue, according to the report, drawn from U.S. Census Bureau data on privately held enterprises.

States that show gains often follow increases in population, according to Julie Weeks, who authored the report for American Express Open. But many of those states also have agencies that offer training for gaining access to federal contracts designated for women-owned businesses.

Henderson’s Nevada Women’s Business Center and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce provide workshops and advisory councils to work with women and minority-owned businesses.

For the chamber, that sometimes includes pairing new or smaller firms with larger or more experienced businesses, according to spokeswoman Cara Clarke.

“There’s not always a one-size-fits-all approach,” Clarke said.

Besides helping the overall economy, Weeks said, having women running businesses shows strides in changing attitudes and that can lead to better work environments. Female managers often ask more questions and talk with employees before making decisions.

“From the outside that might look like women are indecisive,” Weeks said. “What it really means is that women do their due diligence, and if people feel included there is more buy-in.”

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