The Impact of the Pandemic on Women Owned Businesses. The Rise and Resilience of Black Women Owned Businesses during a national crisis!

The impact of the pandemic on Women Owned Businesses (WOB) was far reaching and actually exacerbated an already challenging start up experience. It is no secret that women-owned businesses, faced institutionalized disadvantages from the moment they opened their doors. What was an inconvenience for some WOBs prior to the pandemic became the nail in their coffin without support from the American government or big banks. The unsurprising result of this is that Minority Women Owned Businesses, (MWOB), report experiencing greater hardship than male-owned businesses as a result of the pandemic. A study was recently released by the Brookings Institute that showed that, other things remaining constant, monthly sales growth during the pandemic was lower by 3 percentage points among women-owned enterprises.  It also shows that women-owned enterprises closed  17% longer than the duration of closure of the average firm.  According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, prior to the pandemic 67% of male-owned small businesses rated the health of their business as “good”, versus only 60% of WOB. As of July of 2020, 62% of male-owned small businesses rated the health of their business as “good”, showing a 5% decrease, versus a striking 47% of women-owned businesses giving themselves the same rating, illustrating a 13% decrease. Although these statistics indicate that all small businesses are less likely to view themselves as being in good health, the gender gap in rating cannot go unnoticed. An outcome of WOB being in poor health is closure, and according to a Forbes survey of 522 female small business owners, 54% anticipated a permanent closure of their business because of the pandemic. The weight of the statistic cannot be overstated, as American Express’ “State of Women-owned Business” reports that as of 2019, 42% of businesses were owned by women, and employment by women increased by 8% over the last 5 years (compared to the national average of 1.8%). Through a survey Groupon found that only 10% of WOB predict future hires. Moreover, the impact of WOB closing surpasses the business owners themselves, and seeps into the general realm of the American economy because of a loss of employment. 

As many Americans believe the worst part of the pandemic is over, the American economy is starting to readjust and enter a new normalcy. As businesses reopen, WOB hope to take advantage. In March, the Small Business Administration held its 2022 Women’s Business Summit and provided women with opportunities to become further educated on how to succeed in their businesses .  The Associate Administrator of SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation, Bailey DeVries, remarked that “We have provided over $100 billion worth of funding to small business through the SBIC Program and currently manage $34 billion worth of assets through these partnerships.” Furthermore Black Owned Businesses who were among the businesses suffering the most have managed to rise back up to the top. According to NPR, ” the number of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. is currently around 30% above pre-pandemic levels and growth is being driven by Black women owned businesses.The Biden administration has said a record number of people are starting their own businesses. Women of color are the fastest-growing group of female entrepreneurs.”

We at Vision Street Research, supported many Black Owned Businesses, especially Black Women Owned Businesses here on Long Island and throughout the state of New York during the pandemic. Our support of these MWBEs spanned from weekly patronage, to social media spotlights, pro bono digital marketing services as well as us creating the Willa Mae Grant. We awarded $1,000 to Black Women Owned and family owned business The Best Goodie Bag located in Valley Stream, NY. This grant not only afforded them the opportunity to keep their doors open, but also build out their back office support. As we continue to climb our way out pandemic paralysis, we plan to continue to support our for profit Black Women Owned Businesses with growing their businesses and hopefully employing youth from the community. We will administer customer satisfaction surveys on their behalf and encourage them to use our data analysis to make more informed decisions that will increase increase their overall revenue. We will provide research that positively impacts companies and communities.

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