JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More and more women in Jacksonville are breaking the glass ceiling by starting new businesses.
A recent report by American Express said Florida saw the biggest growth in women-owned businesses in the nation. The number of women-owned businesses has increased more than 87 percent since 2007.
Women are opening more businesses for two primary reasons: they cannot find the job they want so they create it or they see an opportunity in the market.
One local business owner, Sylvia Walker, saw a market niche and decided to change career paths to follow her dream.
Walker is a registered nurse with a passion for health and wellness -- which led to her idea to start an organic skin care line almost two decades ago. She is now the owner of NAIWBE, a business focusing on chemical-free gels, creams and other moisturizers. In 2013, she started selling those products in a retail store and spa at the Jacksonville Landing.
"We had to create an environment where people would want to come in and see what was in here, wanted to test the products and maybe even have a service," Walker said.
Walker is one of millions of women entrepreneurs in the United States. The American Express report found that for more than a decade, the number of women-owned businesses continues to grow.
Forty percent of businesses in the U.S. are now owned by women. That number was only 29 percent in 2007.
Walker has one message for future female entrepreneurs.
"One small step is always a step toward success, so don't ever think you're not doing the right thing. As long as you're moving, you're going in the right direction," Walker said. "You have to keep dreaming your dream. Nourish your dream until it becomes your reality."
Walker stresses that a major key to being a successful entrepreneur, including women business owners, is a strong support system.