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Paycheck Protection Program for Female Business Owners [10 Best States + Insurance Advice]

Written by Chris Tepedino

Advice From Experts Across the Country

What challenges have women-owned businesses faced during the coronavirus pandemic more than male-owned businesses?

“According to the latest Annual Business Survey published in May by the U.S. Census Bureau, women owned 1.1 million employer firms.

Of those 1.1 million firms, 45 percent were in the health care and social assistance industry (16.9 percent or 192,159), professional, scientific, and technical services (16.4 percent or 185,649), and retail trade industry (11.7 percent or 132,894).

We all have witnessed the devastating effect of the pandemic —imposed closures on companies in our own communities — from closures of child day care centers to retail stores.

Whether home-based businesses or brick and mortar businesses, many are still shuttered — and shattered.

Compounding this, 90 percent of all women-owned businesses are sole proprietors. For many of these solopreneurs, business ground to a complete and swift halt — permanently. Without a backup person to help financially or through their hands-on resources, months of being closed without customers have sadly led to a permanent ‘out of business’ sign.”

Do you believe that the PPP loan process benefits male-owned businesses more than female-owned?

“The process itself was fairly simple and straightforward regardless of your gender. However, women-owned businesses could have faced obstacles in applying for the loan if they lacked the required financial documents.

As the National Women’s Business Council crisscrossed the country last year hosting roundtables with women business owners, we learned about the widespread lack of financial literacy in general. So, at NWBC, we do have some concerns but lack the data to actually know how female-owned applications fared compared to male-owned firms.

NWBC is currently working on this financial literacy problem among female founders, I’m happy to report as the chair, and we plan to offer recommendations to SBA and other agencies later this year to remedy it.

In addition, we are in active communications with members of Congress as well as SBA on the need to obtain this gender-related data related to PPP loans.

A woman business owner may have missed the window of opportunity to apply for a PPP loan since time was of the essence. This includes if a women-owned business lacked those necessary financial documents from the onset.

However, the second round of PPP funding provided that important second chance at-bat. As chair of NWBC, I actively communicated with SBA officials and the administrator about the unique business needs of these very, very small women business owners to ensure they got equal access to these emergency funds in that second cycle.

We were pleased when $60 billion was set aside for small lenders to administer loans. Small businesses tend to bank with small lenders.”

Does being a woman business owner benefit or hurt you during the coronavirus pandemic?

“My gender has had zero impact on my business during this time. My company, a marketing strategy firm to technology companies, has done very well during the pandemic simply because of my focus on them.

Since tech companies have thrived due to a swift widespread adoption of all types of technology, my business has fortunately followed suit. So, it has nothing to do with my being a woman and everything to do with the target market I serve.”

Will the coronavirus pandemic impact the number of women starting businesses and if so, why?

“Necessity is truly the mother of invention. And women are very entrepreneurial, especially millennial women. NWBC published a research report on the profile of millennial women, available on the council’s website.

By 2025, millennials will comprise 75 percent of the workforce, and many will become entrepreneurs. Millennial women are more racially and ethnically diverse than prior generations of entrepreneurial women, they are the most educated generation to date, and their participation in entrepreneurship courses has been growing significantly.

Interestingly, women entrepreneurs are more likely to be married and have children than non-entrepreneur women. So, perhaps if the pandemic closes one door of employment for women, it opens the entrepreneurial door for women to enter.

I personally hope more women continue to take their entrepreneurial aspirations to actuality. Women-owned businesses constitute 42 percent of all businesses today. Let’s get to 50 percent and beyond!”

Liz Sara is chair of the National Women’s Business Council and CEO of Best Marketing LLC.
NWBC is the only independent federal advisory committee for the 13 million U.S. women-owned businesses.

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