October is National Women’s Small Business Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the positive impact female entrepreneurs have on their communities and the economy.
As of 2019, there are 13 million woman-owned businesses in the United States, accounting for revenues of $1.8 Trillion. And, in 2021, according to the World Economic Forum, 49% of all businesses started in the U.S. were launched by women.
However, despite these contributions women still face obstacles.
Women and business lending
The SmartBiz® team is committed to fair funding. In fact 60% of the loans we facilitate help fund women, minority, or veteran-owned businesses. These entrepreneurs strengthened their businesses by using SBA loans, term loans, or custom financing to hire employees, for marketing, as working capital, to refinance debt, and more.
Here’s a snapshot of the overall lending landscape for women:
- Women are less likely to receive business credit than men (American Banker®, 2022)
- Women are more likely to receive a smaller, shorter-term loan with significantly higher interest rates (American Banker, 2022)
- The percentage of business loan applications from women-owned firms decreased by 2% in 2020, compared to 2019 (Forbes®, 2022)
- In 2021, 33% of all loan applications came from women-owned businesses. (Biz2Credit®)
Women-owned business success stories
We love working with women entrepreneurs, and hearing about their journeys. Below are business success stories that highlight a few of the smart, creative, and hard-working women who were able to secure funding through SmartBiz:
Off-Road Vixens, co-owned by Shari Bisquera and Carey Kiehn, offers infant, youth, and adult clothing, appealing to all generations of females. The featured clothing changes with current styles and stays in line with the founders’ passions to provide the best possible products with an emphasis on extreme sports like motocross and snowmobiling.
“We love to ride,” says Carey. “It was a great idea to incorporate our passions and we talked about how we could make it into a business.” They launched with the slogan “Girls Get Dirty Too!” Carey says, “It resonates with people. Our brand represents both females participating in racing as well as the weekend warriors.”
The pair came to SmartBiz and took out a $100,000 SBA loan with a low rate and a 10-year term. Carey says, “We used the funds to consolidate payments so our monthly obligations are less. We’re also using the proceeds for working capital and to build our credit line.”
Carey and Shari want to become an even greater influence on an upcoming generation of extreme sports fans. “We want to inspire girls to step outside of the box and try new things.” The pair has now been in business for more than 10 years.
SmartBiz worked with Enyermy Dominguez, a successful beauty entrepreneur, who recently launched an upscale line of hair care solutions.
“I had to learn everything about this business to make it happen,” says Dominguez. “I encourage anyone starting a business to avoid getting discouraged just because people don’t believe in your project.”
Her products quickly became popular, and she needed additional capital to keep up with demand. She came to SmartBiz for a business loan. Dominguez says, “It was the best experience ever with a business loan. The process was fast and easy. It took only a week to get the approval. I would recommend SmartBiz 100%. Definitely they will always be my first option to keep growing my business.”
Brandi Lanee’ Events is an event management company located in San Francisco that manages fitness and corporate events. Brandi reports that running her black and woman owned business has been both exciting and challenging: “On one hand you know it requires extreme dedication and perseverance, and on the other hand knowing that it’s harder to succeed due to lack of business funding for black owned businesses is frustrating to say the least.” In 2020, Brandi applied for the SmartBiz Boost a Small Business in Need Grant Program, created to empower Black and Minority-Owned Businesses in Austin and San Francisco. This grant helped her pivot their services and stay afloat during the pandemic.
Luv Fats Ice Cream in Austin, another recipient of the SmartBiz Boost a Small Business in Need Grant Program, is owned by Chi Ndika, a successful minority business owner. “Since I was little, I wanted to have a small business,” says Ndika. “I didn’t come in thinking I was going to create a business with ice cream,” but her friends and family helped her realize that consumers were interested in natural and local ingredients.
She funded Luv Fats by herself for the first six months and was able to launch with a small loan from a friend and has sustained positive cash flow ever since. The grant helped her purchase a batch freezer to produce products on a larger scale.
Ndika understands how important small businesses are and does her part to lift them up. She says, “My goal with business is to encourage people around me to shop locally to build the economy. Being a black business owner has taught me to be resilient, determined, and knowledgeable. I want to share that with others.”
Resources for women business owners
The SmartBiz Blog has a variety of resources for female business owners, whether they’ve been in business several years or are just starting out. SBA Loans for Women-Owned Businesses has information regarding popular loan programs to help fund all types of ventures. SBA loans generally have low rates and long terms and are often a good option to grow your business.
Another resource to help grow a business is to receive a women-owned business designation used by American government agencies and industry associations to set aside programs to encourage and empower female business owners. Learn more here: Women-Owned Business Certification.