Until the advent of COVID-19, the National Women’s Small Business Month celebration was primarily about highlighting achievements and recognizing the obstacles women face in starting a small business from scratch.
Now, in 2020, the issue is much more complicated.
A study commissioned by Groupon and conducted by OnePoll found that, as of this October, 54% of women-owned businesses have been at risk of having to permanently close their doors due to the pandemic.
The survey also revealed that nearly 75% of businesses said they had been negatively impacted by the pandemic, bringing out the unique obstacles women entrepreneurs face in the United States.
Respondents were twice as likely to say that lockdown restrictions implemented to stop the spread of the virus disproportionately affected women — and minority-owned businesses — as opposed to saying they impacted all businesses equally.
Four in 10 of those surveyed who applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan said they were rejected.
A fifth said they either plan to or already needed to lay off employees — and less than 10% said they plan to hire more people in the next year.
“Every one of us has a role to play when it comes to investing in the success of small businesses. It’s certainly great to have an entire month and campaign dedicated to the promotion and growth of women-owned businesses, but it’s also very important that we continue to support them all year long,” said Groupon CFO Melissa Thomas.
“This year, Women’s Small Business Month comes at a time when many women-owned businesses are facing even greater challenges than usual due to the pandemic, and they need our help now more than ever.”
The survey also revealed which States have been most supportive of women-owned small businesses during the pandemic.
Of the States surveyed, the results revealed that Massachusetts made the greatest effort to help women-owned businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19.
New York, Michigan, Ohio, and North Carolina completed the top five.
Unfortunately, the results underscored some of the difficulties women face in starting their own businesses.
More than half (55%) of female small business owners surveyed said that men find it easier to start their businesses – and more than half said that they are required to perform at a much higher level than their male counterparts.
Fifty-four percent said it is sometimes difficult for them to balance running a business with family life.
Women small business owners said that working hard, taking pride in the quality of their product or service, building a personal network, having an innovative business idea, and being a woman in business were the five keys to their success.
Respondents said their businesses took an average of two and a half years to succeed, and that they did their best to help other women achieve the same level of success.
Three out of five said they do their best to mentor other women entrepreneurs.
Florida led all states when it comes to making it easier for women entrepreneurs to start their businesses.
The Sunshine State has no state personal income tax, and the warm climate proved to be a major drawback. Following Florida in making it easier for women to start their own business were New York, Colorado, and Texas.
Sixty-seven percent of the women business owners surveyed said they are paying close attention to the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
When asked to identify their preferred candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden had the support of 47% of those surveyed, compared to 34% who indicated support for President Donald Trump.
The top five issues that respondents should see addressed by the presidential candidates – chosen from a shortlist – were the economy (75%), health care (54%), gender equality (43%), tax credits and/or cuts (42%) and social justice (36%).
National Women’s Small Business Month was created by the Small Business Administration to celebrate women-owned businesses’ contributions.
According to American Express 2019’s annual State of Women’s Business Report, there are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States, which support more than 9 million jobs and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue.
With information from Groupon and OnePoll.