Annika Sharma

Let's Talk Barriers Faced by Female Business Owners.

Grow your business
Oct 13th 2022

According to Forbes, there are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the US. 42% of all companies in the US are women-owned (Criya is one of them!). Women-owned businesses generate about $1.8 trillion annually.

Why, then, are women facing barriers to business growth?

Times have changed. Some social expectations haven't.

Sadly, a study, part of a research collaboration between Babson College’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) and Bank of America Private Bank, found that "women entrepreneurs’ competency and market knowledge is routinely disregarded, including market opportunities they identify."

The truth, however, is different. Several studies of female hedge-fund managers show that taking the longer view and trading less can pay off: investments run by female hedge-fund managers outperform those run by male managers, while men who were given testosterone made riskier decisions.

How's that for a confidence boost?

Economies are slumping...but limited funding has always been a problem.

Only about 2% of venture capital goes to female entrepreneurs. Because of this, only 2% of women-owned startups generate $1 million.

Currently, many women-owned businesses require their founders to take on credit card loans, self-fund, or bootstrap.

Women can counter this by applying for national, state, and private grants, and crowdfunding, but real change happens when investors consciously put their money into women-founded ventures.

Work-life balance is the goal. It's also a dream for now.

Of the 18% of parents in the US, women make up the majority. Women’s careers have a tendency to slow down when families are in the mix - while childcare, living wages, postpartum support, and on-site pumping facilities are part of the conversation, patriarchal values are another.

By providing inclusive hiring practices that include parental leave, time to pump, postpartum support, and healthcare, businesses owned by women and employing them produce more productive outcomes while also creating powerful leaders who have been supported as they've climbed the ladder.

Leadership counts. But a lack of support can have broad impact.

48% of women lack competent advisors. Networking events and online searches can yield experienced advisors for boards, C-suite, and mentorship - but participation and referrals from men are equally important parts of the conversation.

Additionally, support networks and mentorship provide critical frameworks for the sustainable, long-term growth of a business.

So...what next?

How can women counter these barriers? The study from Bank of America Private Bank and Babson College found that the solutions are as follows:

  • Exploring capital alternatives: venture money from other female-driven funds, grants, and other means may allow some flexibility in raising funds.
  • Building for the long term: leveraging networks, creating long-term connections and partnerships, and deliberate hiring may allow greater foundational strength and resilience.
  • Developing a sustainable and talented workforce: hiring with growth in mind and remaining strategic about skill sets can create a powerful foundation for sustainability.
  • Buying from and funding women-owned businesses: supporting other female businesses fosters partnerships and allows the numbers to speak for themselves when women rise together.
  • Being a mentor and seeking a mentor: making introductions and sharing opportunities allows trust and the prospect of long-term, talented, and experienced mentorship.  
  • Joining or creating new networks: this allows a broader exposure to leaders across industries and knowledge bases to leverage.
  • Capitalizing on personal insights and experiences: nothing teaches more than experience...and you have plenty.

And we'll do one more: join a platform like Criya, that allows female entrepreneurs to level up their businesses with invoicing, client management, rate cards, booking services, and project management, all in one spot.