Nightly News   |  April 27, 2014

More American Women Starting Small Businesses

Women looking for control and flexibility are striking out to become entrepreneurs.

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>>> we're back now with our series on small businesses . and tonight we take a look at how a growing number of women are making one of the biggest moves of their lives, venturing out on their own to have the kind of lives they want. nbc's kristen welker has our report.

>> reporter: judy calls herself a workaholic, but says there is nothing more important than her job as a mom. before her son javon was born eight years ago, judy regularly logged 14-hour days at a biotech firm in pittsburgh. but then after his birth, everything changed, and judy says her bosses weren't supportive.

>> they didn't understand why i came in later. they didn't understand why i had to leave earlier. and they didn't understand why i had to have my door closed so i could pump my milk for my son.

>> reporter: judy quit her job to do what more and more american women are choosing to do, leaving corporate america to start their own business. judy opened this boutique which caters to new moms. studies show that women -led ventures are one of the fastest growing types of small businesses in the country, up more than 60% since 1997 . economists say there are a number of reasons for the spike. the recession, which led to lost jobs and forced many women to get creative, advances in technology, and more companies offering finance plans targeted at women .

>> there are women helping women , providing access and advice in terms of how do you get this loan, how do you leverage your credit card . there are many women 's groups that are devoted to small business development alone.

>> reporter: still, the numbers show women -owned businesses remain relatively small in size compared to those in the larger economy. the companies typically pull in less than a million dollars, contributing just under 4% of revenue. while judy plans to expand, right now she is focused on being the type of boss she didn't have to her two employees who are also moms.

>> i just -- i love it so much. i mean, working for judy , another mom, she gets it.

>> reporter: judy admits it's not easy, but says she has no regrets.

>> i think i'll always be a workaholic. but now i work when it's convenient for me.

>> reporter: a growing number of women leading the charge at work and in life. kristen welker, nbc news, pittsburgh.