Our Blog

Your Stories & Actionable Tips

Subscribe now to get instant access to stories from business owners like you, funding opportunities from Hello Alice and our partners, and tips from small business experts.

An illustrated image of Ziggy looking at a screen with various cards on it
A woman stands proudly with her arms crossed in front of a building and palm trees.
Small Business Funding

Apply Now to the 2022 Stacy’s Rise Project!

Are you a woman-founded small business in the food and beverage industry? Would $15,000 help you support your business and better serve your customers?  Hello Alice and Stacy's Pita Chips have partnered for a new grant fund just for you. All you need to do is apply! What is the Stacy's Rise Project? Hello Alice and Stacy's Pita Chips have partnered to offer the latest iteration of the Stacy's Rise Project. Created to help bridge the funding gap for founders, the Stacy’s Rise Project has been connecting and empowering small business owners for years. But Stacy’s Pita Chips wasn’t always a household name. Marketing, mentorship, and monetary support helped this brand rise from a humble sandwich cart to the nation’s supermarkets. And it’s these same resources that today’s entrepreneurs need to succeed — now, more than ever. The Stacy's Rise Project will award $15,000 grants to 10 women-founded small businesses in the food and beverage industry. For chef Jocelyn Ramirez (pictured above), founder of LA-based Toto Verde and a 2021 Stacy's Rise recipient: "This funding will be used towards our launch efforts for our first plant-based product line of seasoning, helping our community in making more easy delicious, and culturally relevant meals at home." What will $15k help you accomplish? We want to know! Who is eligible for this grant funding?  To be eligible, applicants must: ​​Be a for-profit U.S.- based business selling a consumer packaged good (CPG)Be at least 50% woman-founded (based on original founding, not current investment ownership)Have annualized sales of between $25,000 and $1M. Other eligibility criteria include:  Must be willing to participate in a virtual mentorship programMust not be part of an accelerator program at the time of participation For a full list of eligibility criteria, see the terms and conditions. When is the deadline?  Applications open now through October 21, 2022, at 6 p.m. ET. Apply now! Hop over to our funding center to find even more funding opportunities.
Sep 12, 2022 • 2 min read
Impact Reports

5 Insights About Small Business Credit Usage in 2022

Small business owners look to credit cards as an engine for growth and protection against unexpected costs, according to new data from Hello Alice.  Hello Alice conducted a survey of more than 5,000 small business owners to better understand their credit needs and experiences. The results show that owners with personal and business credit cards heavily rely on them to operate and grow their businesses. Conversely, owners without access to credit believe a business credit card would help them operate, stabilize, and grow their firms.  Here are some key insights about small business credit usage in 2022: 1) Small Business Owners Rely on Personal Credit for Funding Currently, 73% of small business owners surveyed have a personal credit card. The majority (61%) of these owners use this personal credit card to fund their business — not simply for emergencies. In fact, nearly three-quarters of those who use their personal credit card to fund their business are using it at least monthly. Among those surveyed, the most common uses for personal credit cards include: to meet day-to-day operating expenses (63%)to expand the business and pursue new opportunities (50%)to replace and/or repair large, long-lasting business assets (38%).  Even so, accessing this credit has not come easy to all small business owners. Nearly 45% of those surveyed have claimed they have had a personal credit card application denied within the last five years. Of those who have a personal card, 41% have a total credit limit of under $3,000. These relatively low credit limits lessen the card’s utility for owners looking to cover large expenses or pursue areas of expansion. 2) Few Owners Make Use of Business Credit Surprisingly, 80% of owners claimed they either do not have a business credit score or they do not know their business credit score. Only 20% of owners currently have a business credit card, and nearly half (42%) of those business card holders have had it for less than a year.  As with personal credit cards, respondents told us they use business credit cards to operate, grow, and replace/repair capital assets. The difference emerges in how often owners use business credit: Nearly 50% of owners are using their business credit cards once a week or more to fund their business. Business credit cards also carry higher spending power, with only 30% of respondents reporting business credit limits of less than $5,000, compared to 52% of those with a personal card. 3) Despite Barriers, Demand for Business Credit is High In total, 90% of small business owners without business credit believe a business credit card would impact their business in a positive way.  Asked how a business credit card would specifically impact their business: 59% believe it would help cover unexpected expenses59% believe it would allow them to pursue new opportunities52% believe it would accelerate growth47% believe they would be more optimistic about the future of the business. Currently, only 25% of respondents have ever applied for a business credit card, and 85% of those applications were denied.  This modest application rate and high denial for business credit correlate with obstacles to obtaining personal credit. For example, 42% of owners reported a personal credit score less than 620, and 45% have had at least one personal credit card application denied in the last five years. 4) Owners Want Resources to Improve Their Credit According to our survey, 88% of small business owners want to improve either their personal or business credit or both, and 70% are interested in educational content on this topic.  Additionally, owners are already pursuing many strategies to improve their credit, including: paying bills on time (76%)disputing credit report errors (38%)using a secure credit card in hopes of improving credit (25%)requesting higher credit limits (22%)  5) Access to Personal and Business Credit is Not Equitable Crucially, access to credit varies widely across demographics.  For example, Black small business owners are much more likely to lack both a personal and business credit card (31%) compared to their white counterparts (12%). Less than half the portion of Black owners has a business credit card than the portion of white owners. Black owners also have a much higher rate of denial for both types of cards.  Education and technical assistance will be key to reversing this trend, and a resounding 93% of Black small business owners surveyed want to improve their credit.  More Resources Interested in learning more about small business credit access? Download the full report here. Is your company or organization interested in supporting this important work? Or gaining insights about your community of business owners? If so, please reach out to [email protected] Finally, for media inquiries or interview requests, please contact [email protected]
Aug 16, 2022 • 3 min read
A blue credit card with a rabbit and Hello Alice branding on it.
Small Business Funding

Hello Alice Launches Best-In-Class Small Business Credit Card with Mastercard

Hello Alice, the free platform helping over one million small businesses launch and grow, today proudly announced the launch of the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard as it broadens its suite of inclusive capital products. In partnership with Mastercard, the exclusive payments network, and First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO), the card offers small business owners industry-leading accessibility to tools and services including expert business advice, powerful business insights, cashback, and a unique rewards program featuring the ability to earn points by completing business-advancing activities on the Hello Alice platform. "We designed the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard to meet the needs of small business owners where they are, breaking longstanding barriers to mentorship, access to credit, and overall financial health for those who have traditionally been denied access," said Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz, co-founders of Hello Alice, "In times of economic boom and bust, access to capital remains the leading challenge for all small business owners, and particularly for New Majority owners, which is why we continue to focus our efforts on expanding the capital continuum beyond our existing grants and loans programs." To maximize capital accessibility for all small business owners, the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard will be offered as a traditional credit card as well as one with additional provisions to help with credit-building. For business owners with a limited or poor credit history, the credit-building credit card provides cardholders full card benefits while they improve their credit. In as few as twelve months, small business owners may, subject to credit approval, seamlessly graduate from a secured to an unsecured card, a unique feature in the market. "Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, yet too often face significant obstacles in securing the resources they deserve, particularly if the owners come from underserved communities," said Linda Kirkpatrick, president for North America at Mastercard. "The launch of the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard is an important step in our mission to build a more inclusive digital economy by providing small businesses with the financial tools and capital they need to thrive, while also advancing our half-billion-dollar commitment to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap for Black communities." The card is part of Hello Alice's larger Equitable Access to Capital program, a commitment to ensure that all small businesses have access to the capital they need to grow the sustainable businesses that power the national economy. The program provides all of the financial products, tools, and education for owners to scale their businesses, including its own grant fund providing security deposits for high-potential but credit-challenged small business owners. By 2025, Hello Alice estimates that approximately $70 million in grants could fund credit enhancements for approximately 30,000 business owners, unlocking up to $1 billion in credit access. Entrepreneurs who are women, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, veterans, or people with disabilities continue to face barriers to accessing the capital they need for long-term success. In the latest Small Business Capital Access Study completed by Hello Alice*, seventy-eight percent of small business owners claim access to capital is limiting their ability to manage their day-to-day operations, with Black (84%) and Multi-Racial (82%) owners over-indexing on this claim. Eighty-nine percent of owners claim access to capital is limiting their business growth potential. The added stress of the pandemic and its lasting effects continue to impact small businesses. In a recent Hello Alice survey of Black business owners, 34%** of Black owners cited raising capital as their primary obstacle in 2022. "FNBO has been committed to helping small businesses succeed for 165 years, and we are proud to partner with Hello Alice and Mastercard in this vital initiative to elevate all small businesses," said Jerry J. O'Flanagan, Executive Vice President, Partner Customer Segment at First National Bank of Omaha. Hello Alice serves a diverse community of business owners across the country. Approximately 68% of owners are BIPOC, 63% are female, and 17% are military-affiliated. For small business owners interested in learning more about the card, please visit https://hialice.co/meet-the-card. Please direct all media requests to Renee Rossi, [email protected] *Based on data compiled from 2,978 small business owners across all 50 states. **Based on data compiled from 30,500 Black business owners across all 50 states. ABOUT HELLO ALICE  Founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, Hello Alice is a free platform serving more than one million small business owners across the United States. Committed to equitable access to capital for women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, veterans, and entrepreneurs with disabilities, Hello Alice offers funding, education, tools, and curated opportunities. Working with enterprise business services, ecosystem partners, affiliates, and government agencies, Hello Alice provides its growing community with everything they need to grow their businesses. To learn more, visit www.helloalice.com, as well as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. ABOUT MASTERCARD (NYSE: MA)  Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com ABOUT FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF OMAHA  First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) is a leader in the credit card partnership arena, with partners in a variety of industries including retail, travel, entertainment, automotive, oil, nonprofits and more. For over 60 years, FNBO has specialized in providing comprehensive credit card programs with personalized service to help its customers achieve their goals. Visit card.fnbo.com for more information.
Aug 16, 2022 • 4 min read
A jovial restaurateur sits inside her Bangladeshi eatery.
Small Business Funding

Announcing the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund Grant Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund! Each of these 13 restaurants will receive a $10,000 grant for rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies, payroll, and other essential expenses. DoorDash launched the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund as part of its ongoing five-year, $200 million Main Street Strong pledge to empower local communities. In partnership with Hello Alice, DoorDash has also developed step-by-step guides to help business owners both prepare for a disaster before it strikes and how to recover and rebuild their businesses in the aftermath. "This grant means we can finally begin improvement projects and ultimately reopen dine-in for our loyal guests who have been long-awaiting our sit-down service," says recipient Nur-E Rahman (pictured above) of Jersey City-based Bangladeshi eatery Korai Kitchen. "We are so grateful." Congrats to the recipients below, and save the date: Round 3 of the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund is currently open and closes on September 23. Apply today! Spring 2022 Recipients Winter 2021 Recipients Looking for more grant opportunities and lending options to the Small Business Funding Center to find more grant opportunities and lending options.
Aug 15, 2022 • < 1 min read
A business owner does work while on the phone.
Small Business Funding

Find and Secure Small Business Funding with These 3 Guides

New Majority business owners say a key barrier to fundraising is not knowing what to expect. And we don’t blame anyone for feeling this way — fear of the unknown is real. As business owner Gwendolyn Washington told the Kaufman Foundation, “What you lack [is] the community ... a line of people who you already know who can teach you and support you.” To help break down this barrier, Hello Alice has partnered with Silicon Valley Bank to create a milestone with practical steps for fundraising preparation and all it entails. Broken down into three guides, this milestone includes actionable information to get you on the road to reaching your fundraising goals. In addition to these go-at-your-own-pace guides, we’ll also hosted three, free Ask-Me-Anything events, during which industry experts from Silicon Valley Bank answered any questions about the topics covered in each guide.  Missed the live AMAs? Check out the recordings below to catch up on how to find and secure funding for your business now! 1. Determine How Much to Raise Understanding how much money you truly need is the first step to protecting ownership of your business. Early money is likely the most expensive money you’ll take — and it’s important to ensure it doesn’t come with too many strings attached. The first guide in the milestone, Determine How Much to Raise, will help you through this crucial process. Watch the full Ask-Me-Anything, featuring Silicon Valley Bank's Sophie Nazarian, and Kristin Olszewski, founder and CEO of Nomadica, below! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGUitvnSXEU 2. Design Your Pitch Deck The second guide, Design Your Pitch Deck, will help you craft a solid pitch deck to present to potential investors. Because venture capitalists and angel investors wade through hundreds of startup pitch decks every year, a complete and well-positioned deck can help your business stand out from the crowd. Watch Silicon Valley Bank's Sophie Nazerian and Micaela Amaroli, and Jennifer Richard, Principal at Bonfire Ventures, talk pitch decks below! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nquMaLS2uJU 3. Negotiate and Close the Deal The last guide of the milestone, Negotiate and Close the Deal, offers direction once you’ve garnered the attention of investors. With these tips and insights, you’ll be well on your way to securing capital for your business. Silicon Valley Bank's Micaela Amaroli, and Louise Fritjoffson, founder of Martie, walk you through even more tips below. Are you ready to start fundraising and increase your capital? Time to get started! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jfoxmoX1tg For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Aug 9, 2022 • 2 min read
Entrepreneur Sandra Portal-Andreu enjoys chips and dip from her company's sustainable container for small bites.
Small Business Funding

Apply to The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch Today!

If your small business received a $10,000 grant, what would be your next big move?  That’s what we want to know from anyone applying for The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch. What is The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by Sia Scotch? Part of the Year of Small Business movement, this grant program addresses small business owners’ number one need: access to capital. Each recipient will receive a $10,000 grant to accelerate their growth and help make 2022 the year of their small business. "The support from SIA Scotch further solidifies our purpose and mission to bring people to the table. !Muchísimas Gracias!" says Sandra Portal-Andreu (pictured above), artist and co-founder of eco-friendly company Tappas, one of twenty five outstanding recipients funded in 2021.  Who is eligible for this grant funding? Eligible businesses must: Be owned 51%+ by person(s) of colorBe a for-profit business producing less than $5M in annual gross revenueOperate and/or conduct business in at least one of the following states: CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, MA, MN, NJ, NV, NY, RI and/or TX.NOT be an alcohol beverage retail license holder (such as a bar, restaurant, hotel, or store which sells or serves alcohol) or a business which makes alcohol Eligible applicants must: Be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United StatesBe at least 25 years or older as of November 1, 2022 Be the owner or an individual who is legally authorized to bind the Business for purposes of participation in the ProgramNOT have ownership interest and/or be invested in an alcohol beverage retail license holder (such as a business or establishment which owns a license to make, sell or serve alcohol)NOT be an employee of a retail license holder Preference will be given to businesses in the food and beverage industry, such as those who offer products and services across kitchenware, glassware, barware, cocktail mixers, at-home entertaining/party planning, food trucks, cafes, food and beverage blogging, recipe curation, and more.  Additional restrictions apply. See the terms and conditions for details. Do I need to submit a new application if I applied in 2021? If you applied and were not selected as a recipient previously you are welcome to submit a new application. We will evaluate your application based on any new information and judge it against a new pool of applicants! Everyone who applies receives free access to the thousands of curated resources and a community of nearly one million small business owners on Hello Alice. When is the deadline? The application deadline is September 26, at 6 p.m. ET. Learn more and apply today! Still have questions? Read our FAQ. Sponsored by SIA Scotch Whisky. PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. SIA Blended Scotch Whisky. 43% Alc/Vol. Imported by Diageo, New York, NY. Do not share with anyone under the age of 21. Restrictions apply.
Aug 2, 2022 • 2 min read
Small Business Economy 2022 Insights
Impact Reports

6 Insights About the Small Business Economy in 2022

Small business owners are responding to record inflation with leaner operations and creative business strategies, according to a new survey from Hello Alice. The survey results reveal some key takeaways about the small business economy in 2022. In December 2021, Hello Alice conducted a similar survey to gauge owner outlook heading into the new year. This July 2022 follow-up survey measures changing attitudes among owners as inflation, supply chain troubles, the pandemic, and other economic conditions have evolved. These latest results show that small business owners continue to display resilience and resourcefulness even as certain challenges intensify. Here are some key takeaways on the small business economy in 2022: 1. Despite headwinds, small business owners are still hopeful that their business will grow in 2022. Overall sentiment has declined significantly since the initial survey, in which nearly 80% of owners expected growth. Nearly five times as many owners expect their business to perform worse this year compared to our first survey. Even so, the outlook is net positive, with a majority (52%) of small business owners believing their business will grow in 2022.  2. Inflation strongly outpaces COVID worries as the top challenge for small business owners. In total, 71% of owners surveyed believe the effects of inflation have worsened since the start of 2022. Taken at the height of the Omicron wave of the pandemic, the initial survey found that inflation concerns were essentially tied with COVID-related challenges as the greatest challenge facing small business owners. Six months later, 33% of respondents ranked inflation as the number one challenge they expect to face during the remainder of 2022 — nearly double the second-highest ranked challenge, which still remains the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners cited increased cost of goods and services as the most common effect of inflation. In addition, nearly a quarter (23%) of owners specifically mentioned gas and travel as other significant impacts of inflation. 3. Small business owners are most worried about retaining and acquiring customers. Two-thirds of owners (66%) are concerned about losing customers due to decreased consumer spending and 58% are worried they will not be able to acquire new customers due to price increases. In addition, other inflation concerns identified in the survey include: Reduced profit margins (48%)Supply chain shortages (44%)Not being able to acquire new customers due to reduced marketing (40%)Not being able to meet customer demand (34%)Not being able to keep the same business hours due to staffing shortages (21%)None of the above (5%) 4. The impacts of inflation vary based on industry. How owners rate various inflation impacts varies based on industry.  For example: The Retail, Food and Beverage, and Manufacturing industries all highly over-index on concern for supply chain shortagesPersonal Services and Food and Beverage businesses are significantly more likely to report not being able to keep the same business hours due to staffing shortagesPersonal Services and Food and Beverage businesses are also the most likely to be planning to hire for the remainder of the yearFood and Beverage businesses reported the most difficulty finding qualified candidates  5. Small business owners are pivoting and adapting to run leaner businesses. Owners have taken various measures to combat inflation, including:  delaying or canceling planned purchases (41%) reducing supplies and material availability (39%)owners working more hours themselves (73%)delaying or canceling hiring plans (33%) Inflation is shifting overall business strategy, too. Nearly 40% of surveyed owners said inflation caused them to pivot or diversify their business to focus on a new product or service offering. In fact, when asked what the single most effective strategy for combating inflation impacts, 28% of owners responded “adjusting product/service offerings.” The right combination of these strategies appears to help manage the effects of inflation. For example, 48% of small business owners surveyed are worried that inflation will result in reduced profit margins. Interestingly, this concern has decreased 25% since the start of 2022, suggesting that owners’ inflation strategies are working.  6. Small business owners are canceling or delaying their plans to hire. Labor also remains a persistent and major concern. As previously mentioned, 33% of owners have delayed or canceled hiring plans when attempting to manage inflation.  This datapoint closely aligns with previous data. Heading into 2022, 55% of owners planned to hire, yet our most recent survey found only 19% have been actively hiring in 2022 and only 28% definitely plan to hire in the remainder of the year.   Those still looking to hire face an uphill battle. In total, 74% of surveyed owners said they are struggling to find qualified candidates — a 21% increase from the beginning of the year. More Resources Interested in learning more about the small business economy in 2022? Download the full report here. Is your company or organization interested in supporting this important work? Or gaining insights about your community of business owners? If so, please reach out to [email protected] Finally, for media inquiries or interview requests, please contact [email protected]
Jul 20, 2022 • 3 min read
Small Business Funding

Announcing the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Round 2 of 2022!

Maryland small business owners can now apply for the next round of a grant program funded by BGE in partnership with Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Launched in January 2021, the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants will distribute $5 million to Maryland small business owners seeking COVID-19 relief during this second round of funding for 2022. Eligible businesses located in BGE’s central Maryland service area can apply for a grant of $20,000 each. Applicants will need to demonstrate financial need, and preference will be given to New Majority business owners disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Applications are now open until August 26, 2022, at 6 p.m. ET.  Applicants must be a for-profit business and an existing BGE electric and/or gas customer with positive BGE credit history. Other eligibility criteria include: For-profit business founded in 2020 or priorIn good standing (or on the way to) with the State of MarylandA maximum of twenty-five (25) employees Annual gross revenues in 2021 of less than $7 million USDDemonstrated need for funding to support business and serve customers If you applied and were not selected for previous rounds of the program, you are welcome to submit a new application. We will evaluate your application based on any new information and judge it against a new pool of applicants!  “Our hope is that the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants will provide much-needed help to hundreds of small businesses in our community, especially historically underrepresented minority and women-owned businesses," said BGE CEO Carim Khouzami. "This is part of a multi-layered plan to provide direct assistance to energy customers, area nonprofits, and government partners to help put Maryland back on its feet for the long-term, as the public health crisis begins to lift.” Hundreds of recipients have been announced as part of the 2021 funding rounds and first round of 2022.  Arion Long, Founder & CEO of Femly, a for-profit social enterprise that increases access to natural & organic feminine hygiene products based in Baltimore, MD, was a recipient of a 2021 BGE Energizing Small Business Grant. She says, “This funding will help our organization scale to stock restrooms and do our part to end ‘period poverty.’” Visit bge.helloalice.com to learn more about the program and apply for the grant today!
Jul 18, 2022 • 2 min read
Black entrepreneur Lorne Jenkins smiles for the camera.
Small Business Funding

Meet the Small Business Growth Fund Recipients

Hello Alice is proud to announce the recipients of the Small Business Growth Fund!  What is the Small Business Growth Fund?  Part of the Year of Small Business movement, the Small Business Growth Fund exists to empower small business owners and strengthen the overall small business economy by addressing SMBs' number one need: access to capital. Now in its second round of funding, each recipient will receive a $5,000 grant, provided by Mastercard, to accelerate their growth and help make 2022 the year of their small business. The Small Business Growth Fund Recipients  Hello Alice is proud to say that many recipients identify as part of the New Majority of small business owners: 67% people of color69% women7% military-affiliated36% LGBTQIA+22% people with disabilities While their businesses span a variety of industries and stages of growth, the recipients all share a common commitment to impact. Each owner told us how they create jobs, integrate social impact, and donate to local causes and organizations. "We are running a camp called Mini Money Runners this summer in Antonito, Colorado," says Lorne Jenkins (pictured above), founder of Mini Money, a financial literacy app and educational program for schools. "The average income in the county is $22,000 and it is 82% Latino. This grant funding will go to funding the financial literacy portion of the camp, and pay teachers to host workshops that cover money, emotions, budgeting, and entrepreneurship throughout the six-week sessions." Get to know the full list of Small Business Growth Fund recipients below, and visit the Small Business Funding Center to find more grant opportunities and lending options. Round 2 Grant Recipients Round 1 Grant Recipients For more small business funding opportunities and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jul 12, 2022 • < 1 min read
Impact Reports

4 Insights About LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs in 2022

This June, Hello Alice celebrates Pride Month by examining the challenges and triumphs faced by a growing segment of the small business community: LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. Hello Alice reviewed anonymous data from more than 44,600 small business owners who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and compared this information to responses from our overall community of more than 800,000 entrepreneurs. Published in partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), StartOut, and Mastercard, this research also compiles testimonials from LGBTQ+ owners from the Hello Alice small business community. In this report, we elaborate on four key insights and deliver actionable insights for enterprise business services, ecosystem partners, and individual small business owners in pursuit of business for all.  1. Capital Access Remains LGBTQ+ Owners’ Greatest Challenge The single biggest challenge for LGBTQ+ owners is access to capital. In fact, funding came in as the top challenge for the third year in a row. As a result, LGBTQ+ owners are less optimistic than their peers: 82% of LGBTQ+ owners said access to capital is limiting their ability to manage day-to-day operations93% said it’s limiting their growth potential Both figures are above-average rates compared to the overall small business population. Mirroring a heightened need for capital, LGBTQ+ owners reported higher-than-average interest in financing: 56% of LGBTQ+ owners reported that they applied for financing in the last 12 months72% of LGBTQ+ owners plan to apply for financing in 2022 Even so, the majority of LGBTQ+ owners are unsure where or how to secure necessary business capital. In fact, lenders can still legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs in more than half of U.S. states — a potential barrier for many LGBTQ+ business owners. 2. Inflation and Hiring Are Limiting Growth Small business concerns around inflation and labor are only accelerating: 78% of LGBTQ+ owners said inflation impacts are worse than six months ago64% of LGBTQ+ owners said the labor market has grown tighter in the last six months 3. LGBTQ+ Owners Focus on Marketing According to our surveys, LGBTQ+ owners devote outsized budget and attention to marketing, particularly digital marketing via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat. In fact, 73% of LGBTQ+ owners reported using more than one social platform to market their business compared to only 57% of other small businesses. That said, LGBTQ+ owners have limited resources to devote to paid advertising. Developing strategies that maximize organic marketing reach is more essential than ever to help bring in business. 4. Community Is Both a Strength and Challenge Finally, LGBTQ+ business owners are more likely to integrate community impact as a core part of their business. Examples of community impact include: a focus on sustainable solutionscreating jobs for underserved communitiessupporting local suppliers However, isolation and lack of support are growing problems. More than 7% of owners cited the lack of a support network as their top challenge in 2022 — triple the rate measured during 2020. Where LGBTQ+ Business Owners Can Find Support More than anything else, LGBTQ+ owners need funding to fuel their businesses. To all LGBTQ+ small business owners in need, we recommend the following actions for immediate relief:  Visit the Hello Alice Small Business Funding Center Search for grants, loans, and other financing options and get the capital you need to grow your businesses. The Hello Alice Small Business Funding Center offers personalized recommendations and one easy application. Complete Education Milestones Hello Alice Milestones break down essential business topics like fundraising, marketing, and branding into step-by-step guides to help you level up your operations.  Become a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise The NGLCC is the exclusive, third-party certification body that verifies that eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBTQ+ individuals. Increase your visibility to consumers and help support the NGLCC’s political advocacy on the behalf of the LGBTQ+ business community. Join the StartOut Founders Program StartOut is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization founded in 2009 that focuses on supporting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and startup founders. They provide direct individual support through community events, one-on-one mentorship, one-on-one office hours with experts, a 6-month accelerator program, and investor connections.  More Resources & Context View and Download the Full LGBTQ+ Small Business Owner Impact Report About Hello Alice Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. With a community of more than 800,000 business owners in all 50 states, Hello Alice is building the largest network of owners in the country. Further, Hello Alice tracks data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions looking to serve small and medium business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. A Latina- owned company founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners, including women, people of color, military-connected individuals, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, and every American with an entrepreneurial spirit. For more small business tips and inspiration, create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jun 29, 2022 • 3 min read