By Greg Gullberg
May 13, 2013
Valdosta, GA - Well who's the bread winner in your family? More and more we're seeing "moms" as the head of the household. But there's a growing trend in Georgia that's putting women ahead of the pack.
She's one of the most prominent business owners in Valdosta. Deidra White owns the Bleu Cafe, Bas Bleu and the Bleu Pub, collectively known as "The Bleu Group".
She's also a city council women. And being a single mother of two, she's an ideal example of the changing face of breadwinners in America.
"I don't know if it's a perfect example or just what our society has come to, you know. We have choices," said White. "But the dedication that is required is you have to care from somewhere deep inside. That you care about providing for your children. That you care about leaving your community in a better place."
Even the name "Bas Bleu" empowers the fairer sex.
"I wanted to be honoring of women but not in a cheesy kind of a way. And Bas Bleu is french for a woman of literary or intellectual interests," White said.
White is on the forefront of a rising trend of female business owners in Georgia. In fact, Georgia has the fastest growing number of women-owned businesses in the country, according to a new study commissioned by "American Express Open".
In the past 15 years the number of women-owned businesses in Georgia has expanded by 111%. Georgia was the only state to see triple digit growth.
"It is a phenomenon that we're seeing even here in Valdosta," said Myrna Ballard, president of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. "I think many people assume that women-owned businesses make up 10% or 15% of a community's total number of businesses. But actually it's more like 30%. And that's a number that's accurate for the State of Georgia and for Lowndes County."
And many of them are working from home. We caught up with Joyce Aigen at her office which is in her living room. She owns "J.L. Concepts" where she designs creative company advertisements.
She's been in business since the '70s, which was a time when the work force looked much different.
"It was male dominated. You did not have women in the work force as much. Women at that time were always wearing jackets and pants and trying to emulate men. Because they didn't want to stand out with a dress. Because they felt like if they became like a man they would be accepted," Aigen said.
But how do female business owners compare to males?
"I think we find that women are a little more adverse to risk taking," said Ballard. "And sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes that's a bad thing. But women do tend to be a bit more conservative."
And White says women as mothers may have some "natural" advantages.
"(Being a business owner) requires multi-tasking skills and you have to come up with solutions to problems on a daily basis. And be fair while you're doing it. And loving. And everything else that comes along with raising children," White said.
- - - Get Help Starting A Business - - -
For any women out there, or men, who want to start their own business, the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce offers guidance free of charge, even for non-members. It's through the "SEEDS Resource Center". More information can be found by clicking on the link below.