We all know the pandemic has been difficult for small businesses. It’s no surprise that is especially true for women-owned small businesses who have reported an increase in closure rates since last year, compared to little to no change from male counterparts, according to Meta’s recent State of Small Business Report.
While supporting female entrepreneurs with our wallets is vital – and I encourage everyone to do so – there is more that we can be doing at the macro level to help empower and uplift women-owned businesses.
Here are three ways to support women-owned businesses all year long.
Providing access to curated education and training is a key way to cultivate the growth of women-owned small businesses. Knowledge is power. From publishing guides, providing resource hubs, hosting financial literacy training, along with other educational opportunities, there are many ways to boost knowledge and help women with their careers and business.
At Meta, we’ve expanded the #SheMeansBusiness program to address the ongoing financial literacy gap we see between women and men. Currently we provide access to free trainings led by financial expert, Lauren Washington, with modules ranging from business financial basics to assessing financial health and more for anyone who is looking to sharpen their financial acumen.
Connecting Women to Women
Another opportunity comes by way of connecting women-owned small businesses with each other and with organizations that support their success. Explore partnerships with organizations and other businesses – whether it’s to host a community conversation or to broker a business deal, there is so much to gain by working together.
For example, Tay Watt, owner of Posh Candle Co. in California, shared that what started as a conversation via Messenger turned into a major partnership between herself and some small Canadian boutiques. Since the initial DM, Tay has now worked with over 100 other small businesses owned by women.
Share the Stories
Finally, it’s important we also recognize and celebrate women’s resilience by seeking out and sharing their stories. It’s great that we as individuals and brands spotlight women on International Women’s Day or during Women’s History Month – but we should be celebrating the amazing entrepreneurs in our communities all year long! I’d encourage everyone to find women leaders who inspire you – I promise, they aren’t in short supply!
One of my favorite women-owned businesses is Cookie’s Paper Petals ,the first Black woman-owned paper flower shop in the U.S. and located in Milford, Delaware.
Founded in 2017 by Anastasia Jackson, Cookie’s Paper Petals offers colorful paper flower arrangements for celebratory occasions and kits to make your own flower arrangements at home. After a hip injury that left her homebound, Anastasia learned how to make paper flowers through online tutorials to pass the time and began sharing her paper flower creations on her personal Facebook page, where she noticed an uptick in interest from friends and family, and eventually, strangers who inquired to buy them by the hundreds. Now, with over 15,000 followers on Facebook where she hosts daily live streams, Anastasia left her corporate job to focus on her crafting business full time. And from live streams to creating online communities like the East Coast Crafters, Anastasia is fostering community with people near and far, one petal at a time.
Remember that it’s vital to support female entrepreneurs all year long. In addition to shopping with or patronizing women-owned businesses, we should also be helping them in other ways – including education, facilitating connections and sharing their stories whenever we can.
Michelle Klein is the Global Customer and Business Marketing, Meta.