October is National Women’s Small Business Month, and as a former business owner who now works directly with small businesses, I take great pride in knowing how strong, resilient and dedicated female business owners are to their families, their employees and their communities.
As we celebrate women entrepreneurs and business leaders this month and throughout the year, it’s imperative that we support their businesses as they continue thriving for years to come. Here are a few ways women business owners—and their customers—can drive that success.
Support One Another by Shopping Local
According to American Express’s 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report there were approximately 13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. that employed nearly 10 million people and pumped almost $2 trillion in revenue into the economy.
While the pandemic impacted small businesses of all types, female small business owners and operators in the Greater Philadelphia and Delaware region remained resilient, according to a WSFS Bank survey of businesses in fall 2020. In fact, despite all the widely reported challenges women in the workforce have faced during the pandemic, 87% felt they were personally resilient and 85% felt they were able to adapt effectively.
Many local Main Street businesses are women-owned, and continued support from their communities is paramount to sustained success.
At the same time, women-owned businesses across all industries are open and doing business, including professional services such as accounting and consulting, manufacturing, various companies that keep the supply chain moving, and more.
In an age where we embraced virtual learning, collaboration and even took online shopping to another level, it is important that we don’t lose sight of the small businesses owned by women in our region and continue supporting them, both as consumers and fellow members of the business community.
Tap Into Your Resources
As a small business owner, there are several resources available to position you for success, from working with your tax advisor or banker on government programs through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or other agencies, to local chambers of commerce and small business development centers.
The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) oversees Women’s Business Centers to assist women entrepreneurs and works with partner organizations like small business development centers to provide additional resources.
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) can also help connect female leaders with resources such as advocacy, mentorship and more. NAWBO has local chapters for the Philadelphia area, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
Lean on Each Other
Throughout the pandemic, small business owners and their employees have taken the Main Street mentality of banding together for their community a step further, relying on one another by combining and sharing resources during the hard times and continuing to support each other at every step of economic recovery.
And in communities throughout the region and across the country, local residents have continued to support, and in many cases increased their support, of local businesses.
But we also know that women in the workforce have been significantly impacted by the strains of the pandemic, and female small business owners and operators have felt these impacts on multiple fronts—as an employer, running a small business and in many cases, as a parent.
As we celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month, let’s recognize their contributions in stepping up for their employees, customers and communities every day by doing the same for them.
Helping you boost your financial intelligence.
Read our financial resources from your friends at WSFS.