As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s important to honor the significant impacts women entrepreneurs have had on the business world. The Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 played a crucial role in advancing opportunities for women in business, eliminating discriminatory lending practices previously faced by women. Since then, there has been a significant increase in women-owned businesses, but there is still work to be done to ensure equal access to capital for women and minority business owners. Education, mentorship, and collaboration are key components to empowering the next generation of successful women entrepreneurs. With this in mind, let’s take a look back at women’s entrepreneurship over the last 35 years and how we can continue to pave the way for a bright future.
Important Details about A Look Back at Women’s Entrepreneurship Over the Last 35 Years — and How We Can Change the Future for Women Business Owners –
– Women entrepreneurs make a significant impact on the business world, communities, and the economy.
– The Women’s Business Ownership Act was created in 1988 to address the needs of women and eliminate lending practices that made business ownership more difficult for women.
– Since the act’s passage, the number of women-owned businesses has doubled to nearly 13 million and continues to grow.
– Women still face challenges, including access to capital, and progress needs to be made to achieve equality in business.
– Resources, such as the Access to Capital Directory for Women Entrepreneurs and the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, are available to help women navigate the capital landscape.
– Mentorship and education are essential for women’s professional growth and success in business.
– Women business owners face daily challenges but remain dedicated to overcoming adversity and achieving success.
Women Entrepreneurs: Celebrating Their History and Looking to the Future
With Women’s History Month upon us, it’s important to honor, celebrate, and recognize the impacts women entrepreneurs make across the business world. Women business leaders play an essential role in their local communities, our economy, and the world at large. They serve as a vital part of the world’s economic engine and empower the next generation of women to reach their goals as entrepreneurs.
The Women’s Business Ownership Act was passed in 1988, supported by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), to eliminate lending practices by banks that made business ownership more difficult for women than men. This act drastically changed the process of starting a business for women and empowered them to pursue their business goals. Prior to its passage, women business owners were required to have a male relative as a co-signer on their business loans. The act helped reduce discrimination based on gender and allowed women to access capital to start new businesses or fund their existing ones.
This year, as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of The Women’s Business Ownership Act, it’s important to pay respect and acknowledge our history and recognize its impact on the present. Though we’ve made great strides over the last 35 years, women continue to face greater challenges than their male counterparts — access to capital remains a critical issue for women and minority business owners.
According to Bank of America’s 2022 Women and Minority Business Owner Spotlight, nearly one-third of women business owners do not believe that women will ever have equal access to capital. To overcome the disparity in access to capital, women need support and resources to navigate the capital landscape and identify potential sources of funding, such as equity, debt, and grant capital.
Banks have a responsibility to provide accessible capital solutions. For example, in 2021, Bank of America launched the Access to Capital Directory for Women Entrepreneurs to help connect women to organizations that provide funding for women-owned businesses. Additionally, the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell provides the opportunity for women to earn a certificate in business from the Ivy League university. The bank has also recently launched a public marketplace to support and showcase women-owned businesses that participate in programs to drive women’s entrepreneurship.
Mentorship can also make a considerable difference in professional growth. Over the years, mentorship has become an essential tool for women to develop their businesses. Whether it’s providing programs and materials, serving as a confidant to a peer or encouraging women to look into new educational resources, mentorship can help lift other women up.
Education will continue to be a key factor as women work toward achieving full equality in business. Whether it’s learning about business tactics or how to apply for grants, women must use every available resource to enhance their knowledge and reach as they begin their business endeavors. Through collaboration with fellow women and business partners, they can enhance efficiency, strengthen financial knowledge, and deploy their creativity that takes their businesses to unseen levels of new success.
Since the passage of The Women’s Business Ownership Act, there has been a significant increase in women-owned businesses. A few years after its passage, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. reached 6.4 million in 1992 — this represented one-third of all domestic firms and 40% of all retail and service firms, according to the United States Census. As of 2019, the number of women-owned businesses has doubled to nearly 13 million (representing 42% of all U.S. businesses), and a 2022 study showed that over the past three years, the number of women entrepreneurs grew by 48% year-over-year, which outpaced their male counterparts by 22%.
Despite the progress made over the years, women entrepreneurs still face many challenges in their daily lives. However, they continue to overcome adversity and remain dedicated to their businesses.
Looking to the future, we have a lot to celebrate, but there is still work to be done as we pave the way for a successful generation of future women leaders and entrepreneurs. By providing accessible capital solutions, mentorship, and education, women have the potential to achieve equality in business, leading to economic growth for all.
As we honor and celebrate the entrepreneurs who have made the strides and progress we have seen thus far, we must also continue to look to the future and encourage a more inclusive and supportive business environment for women entrepreneurs, allowing them to continue to make valuable contributions to our economy and society.