There are many women constantly looking out for one another, whether it’s Women’s History Month or not. Thank goodness for that because, at this point, the best way for us to excel is to have each other’s back and utilize the resources we have nearby to continue to amplify women’s issues.
In fact, this is something that Sonia Sroka, the head of global multicultural communications at Meta — formerly known as Facebook — is passionate about.
This passion drives her to ensure that the Latine community is aware of everything at their disposal for the sake of collective growth.
“We’re here to support women and make sure that we give them the tools needed to go back in business and stay in business,” she tells BELatina in a Zoom call, where she rocked a pristine camera presence as usual.
The numbers speak for themselves
The Salvadorian jefa makes a point to show people the tools available, which can be beneficial to business owners — whether they are well-adjusted in their market or emerging business owners. If there’s one thing the pandemic revealed is the strength of our community’s entrepreneurial spirit.
However, our community’s penchant for entrepreneurship is sometimes stalled by factors beyond our control.
A recent survey conducted by Meta recorded that 24 percent of U.S. women-led small businesses are still not operational. On the other hand, 18 percent of male-led small businesses are not active.
Even then, Sroka explained that despite such findings, “we see that 63% of women-led businesses are confident that they’re going to be able to continue to operate in the next year, regardless of the circumstance.”
The power of women is indescribable.
Still, no matter how much grit and determination women may have, guidance is necessary.
“We also know that nearly half of U.S. women small business owners are making 25 percent of their sales digitally and 25 percent of their sales. Meanwhile, 39 percent of small businesses led by men are making the sales digitally.”
“So again, I think we need women to catch up a little bit more.”
And though most people are already accustomed to social media and its presence in everyday life, some tools go unused more often than not. This is detrimental to our community, considering we are letting untapped resources and potential go stale.
But the numbers are in favor.
After all, 40 percent of Instagram businesses have self-identified as women-owned and have been set up since the beginning of the pandemic. This can be due to the rising archetype of the “Covid-preneur,” a social phenomenon of resilience.
Similar data is valid for Facebook too. Both these platforms are a place where people can thrive, especially women.
“Women have definitely shown a huge entrepreneurial spirit. We find a way to make it happen. We find a way to help our families.”
Boosting trust and confidence
So, how do we build towards a trend that we all continue to grow at a steady pace?
Well, tools like sharing stories are one of the methods proven to help others connect and, in particular, businesses.
Sroka says, “Stories make us more human.”
She, herself, took up sharing more on her personal account because she yearned for the connection and warmth many of us have been deprived of during the last couple of years.
“I also need their support, too. I also want to feel supported. And I think more people are feeling that sense of community, that sense of support by being authentic and showing up as a person that is multifaceted — businesses, just like people, are multifaceted, and bringing different things to their pages is a plus.”
As we all know, there are countless things we can do with social media, so why not use all of its capabilities? Sroka encourages everyone to use everything that is at their disposal. Everything is there for a reason at the end of the day.
The importance of support programs
Unfortunately, not everyone may know of specific programs aimed at helping women. For instance, Meta has a program that has been around for six years, #SheMeansBusiness, which is a commitment to supporting businesses.
This program offers free video tutorials. At the moment, it is also hosting new content surrounding Financial Literacy Training for Women Entrepreneurs. By doing this, it is expanding barriers to financial resilience literacy with a new training track that includes modules on business financial basics, financial health, and more.
Sroka, alongside Meta, encourages small-business entrepreneurs to use WhatsApp for advertising efforts to further business growth and recognition.
Not too long ago, WhatApp featured three of the most influential Latin female artists today, Anitta, Becky G, and TINI, as they were part of the campaign “Escúchanos, Míranos.” They used the campaign to share their thoughts and empower each other. That human connection is also a key factor for business success — and this campaign showcases its significance.
“WhatsApp also has the stories feature so that you can share an update. So, there are many different ways for you to connect with people, connect with your consumers, listen to them, give them what they need, what they want, hear from them, and connect with other business owners.”
“These programs that we have available are always there. If you don’t have a business, but you’re thinking about it, or if you’re already a business owner, consider using everything to learn how to optimize your business,” she suggests. “You can learn to use these resources in a better way or even as a way to network.”
Becoming part of these programs is a great way to hear from the experiences of others because, as this Latina powerhouse says, it can give you an idea of how to find solutions together.
When we asked Sonia how she could continue encouraging women and Latinas to jump on the entrepreneurial journey, her advice was to tell everyone to get started before they’re ready.
“Don’t wait until you feel ready because sometimes we’re never ready.”
So, when are you taking that jump, and which tools will you be using?