Newly released research shows that Alaska leads the country in the percentage of women-owned employer firms.

The latest statistics were presented Tuesday by the University of Alaska as part of 2018 Women in Entrepreneurship Week. A full report will be will be released on Women's Entrepreneurship Day on Nov. 19.

Lead analyst on the project Richelle Johnson and small business owner Fernanda Conrad joined KTVA 11's Liz Raines on Daybreak on Wednesday.

"We compiled the data from all the states and discovered that Alaska actually leads the nation with 26 percent of all the firms in the state are female owned," Johnson said. The majority of the women owned businesses in the state are less than 5 years old, and 71 percent had fewer than 5 employees, which can lead to increased revenue. "In some of the research we found that 89 percent of the new job growth in the private sector is from businesses that are less than 5 years old so the fact that women owners are leading the way with that is really exciting."

Johnson says although there is no data to support it, she contributes the Alaskan mentality to being able to lead the nation in this area. "If there is a hole that women say that they know they can fill, then they can fill those niches."

Fernanda Conrad, the co-owner of Wildheart magazine says she was able to fill a niche business model in Alaska.

"There was a need in the community where women who in Alaska we believe have great stories and did not have a place to put those stories, and we were able to be successful just by filling that specific hole in the community," Conrad said.

If you are interested in learning more about starting your own business in Alaska, there are plenty of resources available at UAA. Business advising is available from the Alaska Small Business Development Center, from the Business Enterprise Institute, or those interested can enroll in UAA's entrepreneurship minor.

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