Work & Family
5 Ways We Can Support Women-Owned Businesses Post-COVID-19
Did you know that 42 percent of all businesses in the U.S. are female founded? And they’ve been growing more than twice as fast as other businesses in the past five years, according to reports. That's the good news.
The not-so-good news: The pandemic has hit female entrepreneurs especially hard. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study, less than half of female business owners surveyed believe their revenue will increase in 2021, compared to 57 percent of businesses owned by men.
As the country works to overcome the economic effects of COVID-19, female-founded businesses can make a comeback, and all of us can help. Here’s how we can support them:
1. Shop #WomenOwned
Want to buy from more women-owned businesses, but aren’t sure where to find them? Luckily, there are several resources to make your search easier.
In addition to hearing about women-owned local businesses from friends and other small businesses you frequent, social media is a good place to start. Follow hashtags, like #womenownedbusiness and #womenowned, to connect with female founders and business owners on Twitter and Instagram.
Yelp also lets you search for women-owned businesses by typing, “Women Owned,” into the search bar along with your location—a filtered list of businesses in your area will pop up. Another option: The organization "Women Owned" keeps an updated list of female-founded businesses.
42% of all businesses in the U.S. are female founded
2. Donate or become an investor
Women-led companies struggle to get the funding they need to survive. While several factors impact this trend, women receive less than half the average investment amount as companies owned by men. Also, those loans tend to be shorter term and have higher interest rates, making it more likely for women to have to self-finance their companies.
You can support them by donating to causes like Opportunity Fund, a non-profit organization that provides loans to women-owned small businesses and underserved entrepreneurs. If you prefer to invest in businesses directly, look into buying stock from a publicly traded, women-owned business, or talk to your financial advisor about adding women-owned businesses to your personal portfolio.
3. Give social support
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools available—and it doesn’t cost a thing. Show some love with positive reviews on social media and be explicit about what you liked best.
Follow accounts that support women, like WomensNet, an organization that awards monthly grants to women-owned businesses, and U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, an advocacy group that helps women start and build successful businesses and careers.
Celebrate and support women by using #BuyWomenOwned on social media during Women’s History Month in March and these key moments throughout the year: March 8, International Women’s Day, August 26, Women’s Equality Day, and October 11, International Day of the Girl.
4. Share your network
Help women-owned businesses in your community get seen and heard.
For example, you could partner with a woman-led business for your next corporate event. If possible, make it a point to invite more women as keynote speakers and panelists. (Women speakers are typically underrepresented at professional gatherings.) These networking opportunities can raise awareness for a small business and help women entrepreneurs grow their list of contacts.
International Women’s Day
Women’s Equality Day
International Day of the Girl
5. Offer your expertise
Want to get more involved? Become a mentor!
You can volunteer with the Women's Business Development Council, Women Initiative Foundation, or through your company’s workplace mentorship program, if one exists. Encourage young entrepreneurs and women in male-dominated industries by volunteering at a STEM-focused organization like Black Girls Code or Women In Tech International.
The past year has shown us the value of communities supporting each other, whether in combating a global pandemic or keeping local businesses afloat. We all have the power to support women business owners. And if you're looking to start your own women-owned small business, we’ve created a step-by-step guide.