More and more women are making the decisions in companies. And that necessitates a focus on how companies can do better business with those firms, said Beth Marcello, director of Women’s Business Development at Pittsburgh-based The PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
PNC Financial is the parent company of PNC Bank.
Marcello recently discussed female business ownership and decision-makers with the Business Journal.
Q: Why does PNC have a Women’s Business Development division?
A: More often we’re finding the people at companies we want to do business with are women. They’re often the CEO or CFO. The Center for Women’s Business Research helps us identify women-owned businesses, and there are 2.6 million majority women-owned companies in our footprint that generate $435 billion in revenue. That’s what we can identify.
The rest of the companies with women decision-makers we have to find. But we know there are more because our bankers are telling us they’re finding more women in these decision-making positions. Right now, we have more than 1,100 bankers that are PNC-certified women’s business advocates, an 80 percent growth since January 2012. To me, it’s an indicator of how relevant it is for bankers to have this certification on their business card and the growth of the segment, the number of businesses owned by women or where women are the decision-makers. …
We educate (the advocates) about the differences between men and women, about how they differ in thinking and communication. Twenty-eight percent of our advocates are men, and they often have a wife or a sister who is a business owner.
What advice would you give to women going into business for themselves?
Women have the same start-up needs as men. They need advisers, they need a plan, they need capital. They really need to avail themselves of the resources in their community, like the small-business development centers. It makes sense that women connect with them.
The Small Business Administration has women’s business development centers. A program we support in some of our markets is the Athena Powerlink to help women-owned businesses with their growth objectives.
What needs do women-owned businesses have to get off the ground?