Report: Women-owned businesses rising, an owner says it is empowering

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A recent report says the number of women-owned businesses has been rising.

Data from an annual American Express OPEN report estimates there are 11.6 million businesses owned by women in 2017.

Business owner Erin Rigel of Fashion 15 Below said she feels empowered hearing the rise of women in business.

"I think it’s great. I think it’s empowering to be a woman in business today. I love to hear that," she continued. "I love to hear that woman are out getting to fulfill and live their dreams and do what they want to do "

Rigel said she started working in a fashion industry a few years ago, first owning Little Black Fashion Truck.

"I sold that business and for about almost two years, I went and helped another franchise company open boutiques around the country," she said.

She was tired of traveling and decided to open Fashion 15 Below about a year and a half ago.

"It was time to be home and do what I love," Rigel said.

As a child, she said her mom encouraged her, saying she could do anything she wanted.

"I've done a lot of different things, and so I've just kind of looked at those opportunities and I've worked in law enforcement, I've cut hair, I've managed restaurants, I've done a lot of different things," she said.

Rigel said her ultimate passion was trying to make women feel good about themselves.

"My passion was really just trying to empower women and make them feel beautiful," she said.

The latest report from the US Census in 2012 shows almost 31 percent of firms are owned by women. This means a woman has at least a 51 percent share of the business.

In Twin Falls County, it was 27.2 percent in 2012, close to a five percent increase from 2007.

A representative from the Department of Labor said they expect the numbers to keep growing.

Rigel said owning a business is more than a 9 to 5 job, but is fun and fulfilling.

"You got to go for it, just, don't let fear kill your dreams," she said.

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