March 14, 2019
March 8, 2019 was International Women’s Day, but since 1987, the entire month of March has been designated National Women’s History Month in the U.S. We take this month to celebrate the achievements of American women, but especially to bring awareness to the challenges that women still face in our nation.
In the workforce, for example, the gender pay gap continues to be an issue, and while the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have made great strides in changing the conversation about sexual harassment. Nevertheless, much work still remains to be done, both in creating safe, co-respectful work environments and leveling the playing field with regard to entrepreneurship.
Nowhere is this felt more acutely than here in New York City, which is home to at least 359,000 women-owned businesses generating $50 billion in annual sales. Even though NYC was recently rated by Fortune as the best city in the world for women entrepreneurs, a recent report reveals that only eight percent of NYC women-owned businesses employ more people than the owner, and more than 70 percent of these women owners say they face challenges when it comes to raising capital,forming business relationships and even hiring staff.
For these reasons, in honor of both International Women’s Day and National Women’s History Month, we’ve compiled the following list of resources to support women-owned businesses in general, but especially those who are Kew tenants.
This sub-initiative of NYC’s Department of Small Businesses is a virtual hub of resources for women entrepreneurs. On this site, you can find informative events, connect with a mentor, discover resources for capital, and more, all for free.
Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program
New York City goes out of its way to contract for services from minority and women-owned businesses. This program provides information how to get certified as an M/WBE business in order to quality for city contracts.
New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce (NYWCC)
This membership organization is dedicated to providing platforms for success to help self-employed women and women-owned businesses. Annual dues are reasonable, and they open up a whole array of opportunities for promotion and connection for your business.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
This national organization is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S., offering a wide range of resources and support for women entrepreneurs, including educational resources, networking, grant opportunities, and more.
Ellevate is a dues-based business networking community specifically geared toward women entrepreneurs. The New York City chapter keeps a full schedule of meetups, seminars, panel discussions, and small “squads” for mutual support and promotion.
This organization features both an online community/podcast and offline conferences designed to support, inform, and empower women entrepreneurs. The next NYC conference, slated for May 4, 2019, will feature a large roster of speakers discussing entrepreneurship, branding, social media, and much more.
A non-profit organization for the empowerment of women entrepreneurs, the Tory Burch Foundation helps women business owners by helping them connect to funding as well as offering educational programs for women owners in NYC. The Foundation’s one-year fellowship provides more in-depth education and mentoring for a select group of applicants.
Bonus Section: Funding Resources/Investors for Women-Owned Businesses
A number of individuals and firms specifically provide venture capital for women-led businesses. Here are a few to check out:
- Female Founders Fund
- BBG Ventures (#Builtbygirls)
- Golden Seeds
- 37 Angels
- Women’s VC Fund
- Gotham Gal
In the past few years, women entrepreneurs have made great progress to change the gender bias in the business world, with as many as 1,821 new women-owned businesses launching every day. But while women now own as many as 40 percent of all companies in the U.S., most of these women are still “solopreneurs,” and their companies receive about 45 percent less funding than companies run by their male counterparts. Hopefully, with the help of some the resources listed above, those numbers will increase.
This month, we encourage everyone to identify women-owned businesses near you and give them your business as often as possible.