Up until the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, women-owned businesses were the fastest growing sector in the United States. They generated some $1.6 trillion in revenue and employed 9.4 million people.
When the pandemic swooped it swept away more than 50% of sales for 47% of female-owned enterprises. By comparison, 41% of male-owned businesses suffered similar setbacks.
Women-owned businesses will also likely take a longer time to recover for a variety of complex reasons. Whatever the case, there are a number of things individual consumers, government, creditors, and others can do to bolster women-owned businesses, including:
Streamlining Access to Capital
This is a good time to reevaluate our credit systems to ensure that women have access to working capital and funding. That could mean everything from banking and venture capital to government programs, such as the PPP and Small Business Administration grant programs. Bankers also need to back women and recognize the advantages women entrepreneurs bring to the marketplace.
Women Worker Attributes
Even in modern times, women still wear more hats than men. After all, women need to make babies and then have time to nurture them after they are born. It’s a fact that women still handle more domestic responsibilities than their male counterparts. These and other factors are attributes of female employees that must be taken into consideration both when hiring women and by those who would back them financially in business ventures.
Resources and Tax Codes
A report recently issued by Gusto revealed that 27% of women business owners claimed tax credits offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act – but 54% did not. Some did not take advantage of this resource because they did not have an employee that needed sick leave due to illness. However, one-fifth of respondents said they did not know about the program. Thus, women can help themselves by exploring all the options that are available to them. Government agencies that administer the programs should perform more outreach to bring aid to more women-owned businesses.
Networks for Women
Women need to take more power unto themselves by building networks of mutual support and cooperation in the business realm. Networking is a way to connect with sponsors, mentors, sources of capital, and strategic partnerships that can bolster entrepreneurial activities.