It’s no secret that the pandemic has had an impact on businesses all over the world. Not surprisingly, small-business owners have found themselves in seriously unsteady waters, with female entrepreneurs being hit especially hard during these times of crisis. In moments like these, a little support can go a long way and it’s vital if we want to help small women-owned businesses affected by the pandemic survive.
In addition to threatening small businesses that could be forced to close permanently, the changes brought about as we adjust to our new “new normal” could also undo the progress made in the rise of female entrepreneurs. Especially since many of these female-led businesses are part of some of the most vulnerable industries, including the hospitality and beauty sectors.
COVID-19 and its Impact on Small Women-Owned Businesses
The past five years have seen a rise of 21% in the number of women-owned businesses, with companies owned by Black and Latinx women growing at an incredible rate. Unfortunately, these tend to be small businesses employing fewer than 500 staffers, many of which won’t make it out of the pandemic without at least a little help.
According to American Express, around 22% of all small women-owned businesses are included in the “other services” industries, comprised of companies like nail and hair salons and pet groomers. Female entrepreneurs also own 16% of the hospitality and food service industries.
On top of the ways in which coronavirus has made it impossible –or at least very difficult– for most small companies to stay up and running, female business owners often face banks and financial institutions that’ll deny their loans in order to favor pre-existing costumers. Laurie Fabiano, president of the Tory Burch Foundation, explains that women “tend to have less of a track record with banks” because they borrow less than men.
This isn’t very promising for entrepreneurs who had been having issues securing capital before all small business owners began to need it.
Information and Funding for Female Entrepreneurs
Many organizations have begun to find how to help small women-owned businesses affected by the pandemic. In addition to donations and funding, some have offered resources to help entrepreneurs stay informed as well as webinars to help them navigate different aspects of the COVID-19 crisis.
- The Tory Burch Foundation supports the empowerment of women entrepreneurs, providing access to capital, entrepreneurial education, mentoring and networking opportunities. Their site is currently dedicated to information and guides for female entrepreneurs struggling with the effects of the pandemic. From applying to PPP funding and well-being tips to webinars helping small businesses stay alive.
- Hello Alice works similarly, helping small businesses “get back to business” by providing e-learning guides, mentorship and immediate $10,000 grants to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Recipients will also continue to get support from the community, which offers tools and opportunities for specific businessowners.
- The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation has showed its dedication to “elevating and supporting women through entrepreneurship” by teaming up with GlobalGiving to create The Red Backpack Fund. The fund will give $5,000 grants to female entrepreneurs in the United States who have been affected by the crisis.
- The IFW COVID-19 Relief Fund will provide microgrants to women-owned businesses that have been impacted by this crisis. You’ll have to create a crowdfunding campaign through their website to be considered for a grant.
- Ladies Who Launch has created a thorough guide that includes articles, information on grants and funds, websites on wellbeing and staying healthy, workplace tips, finance resources and different tools to help entrepreneurs work and manage their businesses from home until it’s time to get back to business.
Six Ways to Help Small Women-Owned Businesses
If you’re not a small business owner but you’re interested in how to help small women-owned businesses affected by the pandemic to stay afloat during these unprecedented times, there are some ways you can contribute without having to leave the safety of your home.
1Identify Small Women-Owned Businesses in Your Neighborhood: They could be closer than you think! There are directories available online and chances are that a little bit of research will lead you to at least a couple of women-owned businesses in your area. This is the perfect opportunity to buy their products. Many of them will probably deliver them to your door depending on what it is you’re looking for.
2Support your Female Friends Who Own Small Businesses: It’s always good to start helping those closest to you. So, before you expand your help, look around. Can you support your female friends, colleagues or relatives promote their business? This is a great time for care packages. How about surprising people in your network by sending them your friend’s products or services? We recently organized a “quarantine surprise campaign” with Christtine Organic, the small manufacturer of the best alfajores de dulce de leche you’ve ever tried.
3Find Small Businesses Online: A lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs will have a website, app or social media profile where you can contact them and buy their products or services. Some of them will only ship locally, but you may be surprised at how many will find you wherever you are (for an additional cost, most likely.) You can find anything, from clothes and art to food and drinks. Do a little digging, you might find something you’ll love and help someone who really needs it. Here’s the story of the founder of our partner Lola Ramona, the company that creates shoes with an attitude.
4Support GoFund and Other Campaigns: Some small companies have created campaigns to raise money on platforms like GoFundMe, their Facebook profiles or their official websites. Through these, you can usually donate as much as you want directly to them and help them cover payroll and other important expenses. A lot of them will even tell you how they plan to spend your money.
5Invest in their Future: Some sites have started to offer gift cards to restaurants, cafes and bars around different cities. These gift cards will be exchangeable when business is resumed, helping these businesses stay afloat while they’re forced to keep their doors shut. Help Main Street!, Support Local, Rally for Restaurants and Give Local are some of the options out there.
6Don’t Forget to Share: The power of social media is great, so make sure you share and encourage others and show them how to help small women-owned businesses affected by the pandemic. Promote them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, give them positive reviews and recommend them to friends and family.
Support Black Women-Owned Businesses
This is also an opportunity to show your support to the Black Lives Matter movement and the black community by investing in businesses owned by black women in the United States. According to the Washington Post, African American owned-businesses decreased by 40% as a result of COVID-19 and the government mandated shutdowns.
Help however you can. It’s a great time to be there for each other and show some sisterly love.
Aline Cerdan Verástegui
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