Listen to the headlines, and these are dark days for women. Those who own a small business have spent the last year fighting for scarce relief funding and struggling to survive in industries disproportionately impacted by shutdowns. Then there’s the coming “shecession,” a term coined by experts to describe the number of women pushed out of the workforce to assume extra responsibilities as educators, caregivers, and housekeepers during the pandemic. The latest figures show the economy has shed 2.5 million working women — an exodus that Vice President Kamala Harris has described as a “national emergency.”
As we enter Women’s History Month, we have to first reckon with the reality of our current moment. Then we need to start a conversation about how entrepreneurship is one of the best solutions.
We have seen it work before. In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008–2009, entrepreneurship exploded to its highest rate in more than a decade. Research shows that minority and woman-owned businesses led job creation during the recovery, and Black women in particular emerged as the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the nation. Economists say a new startup boom is already underway and that it’s these new businesses that will create the majority of new jobs in America.
If we want to ensure that women are part of creating their own, better future, we need to help them ride this emerging wave of entrepreneurship.
There are more than 123,000 women in the Hello Alice community who already demonstrate what is possible. You can point to Thereasa Black, a lawyer and veteran who opened an all-natural sweets shop named Bon AppéSweet to spend more time with her daughter. There’s Erin Jackson, an independent artist who turned her side hustle into a business that supports herself and her favorite nonprofits. And there’s Tamika Fletcher, who transformed a dorm room hobby into a beauty brand available in department stores nationwide. None of these women initially set out to become business owners, but it’s a path that ultimately led to success and self-sufficiency.
Women’s History Month feels like the perfect time for us to take stock of everything women have accomplished and get excited about all there is yet to achieve. This is our time to learn from those who have started their entrepreneurial journey before us and welcome everyone only taking their first steps.
Let’s find ways to elevate the woman-owned businesses in our lives by reaching out to the owners and share our gratitude. Let’s buy their products and pay for their services. Most of all, let’s speak, post, and share our love however we can get people to listen.
Hello Alice also wants to hear from the women in our community. How do you get it all done? Who are your biggest inspirations? What has kept you sane after a year of facing impossible challenges?
You might feel like you don’t have all the right answers yet, and that’s OK. Every woman entrepreneur ultimately follows her own path to success. This March, join Hello Alice as we start to find yours.