Investing in female entrepreneurship is good business
Since the start of the pandemic, women business owners have been driving record levels of small business creation. Every year, women-owned businesses generate more than $1 trillion in sales, and in 2020 women started half of all new small businesses, up from a quarter of new entrepreneurs last year. At Bank of America, approximately 40% of our small business customers are women, which is above the national average.
Central Indiana is increasingly seen as a great place to launch a start-up, especially for women. According to a 2020 SmartAsset Study, the Indianapolis/Carmel/Anderson area was ranked in the top 25 national best places for women entrepreneurs, with a start-up survival rate of nearly 80%.
Bank of America Spotlight on Women Business Owners 2021 shows that women business owners have strong prospects for business and economic growth. Sixty-one percent expect their incomes to rise over the next year, while economic optimism and hiring expectations have also increased since last fall. Despite their optimism and resilience, women business owners – and women in general – have been hugely impacted by the pandemic.
Across the country, women have left the workplace over the past year in an exodus accelerated by the pandemic that reflects persistent pay inequality and caregiving expectations that collide with the work environment. hybrid today. In September 2021 alone, more women left the labor market that the American economy has created jobs. Prior to the pandemic, women made up more than 50% of the US workforce, underscoring their importance and vital contributions to the US economy. When women have access to the tools and resources they need to function, as well as increased pathways to capital in Indianapolis, our local economy and community grow and thrive.
Finding a work-life balance is difficult for women business owners, even in non-pandemic times – they wear so many hats within their companies, CEO, salesperson, HR and everything in between. For women business owners, this year has highlighted the importance of finding opportunities to take a break and disconnect from the daily stresses of owning a business, making time for pleasurable activities, focus on spending time with family and friends, adopting healthy lifestyle habits or unplugging. Of actuality.
Our data revealed that women entrepreneurs recognize the impact of pandemic-related stressors on their mental health and, in turn, protect the health and well-being of their employees. Half of women business owners have taken steps to counter employee burnout by changing, or planning to change, their approach to employee wellbeing and benefits due to the pandemic, including allowing more flexible hours or working remotely and offering more paid time off or sick leave. Additionally, 48% of women business owners even cut their own pay to keep their employees on staff during the pandemic.
From our extensive work with women entrepreneurs, we know that one of their biggest challenges is identifying sources of funding, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Our Spotlight on Women Business Owners 2021 indicates that 42% of women have never applied for a business loan or line of credit. And according to our precedents to research, nearly 60% of female entrepreneurs say they don’t have the same access to capital as their male counterparts, and nearly a quarter believe that women will never have equal access to capital.
To help women business owners in Indianapolis and across the United States navigate the capital landscape, Bank of America recently partnered with Seneca Women to launch the Bank of America Capital Access Directory. The comprehensive, searchable database allows women looking for capital to sort potential funding by type – including seed, Series A or late-stage capital, as well as grants and loan capital – depending on the stage and needs of their business. This one-of-a-kind platform is the only place women entrepreneurs can find this vital, aggregated content.
However, it’s not just about access to capital: it’s also about training, education and understanding how to run a sustainable business over time. As part of our ongoing work to invest in women, Bank of America provides women-tailored mentoring and networking opportunities to ensure they receive the support they need. In 2020, we expanded the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, a free Ivy League certificate program that helps women gain skills and access resources to scale their businesses. To date, we have had over 30,000 women enrolled in the program, over 90% of whom identify as Black, Hispanic-Latino or Asian.
With women-owned businesses representing more than a third of all small businesses in the United States, investing in their success in Indianapolis has never been more important. Women entrepreneurs are key to driving strong and healthy economies, and to create opportunities for these entrepreneurs to thrive and lead, it is essential to understand their priorities, day-to-day realities and challenges. As women entrepreneurs accelerate the growth of their businesses and revitalize our local economy, Bank of America remains committed to their success throughout the year.