3 Ways To Support WOC Entrepreneurs During COVID-19
Imagine investing the time, capital (and often tears) into launching your first startup, only to watch a pandemic spread across the globe and trigger a worldwide financial crisis. This is the reality for entrepreneurs everywhere, but for Black and Latinx women who already are subject to a lack of resources and support, this threat could quickly dash the dreams they’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Based on a study by digitalundivided, there is a growing number of Black women crossing the $1MM venture threshold, however, a majority of Black women-led startups do not raise any money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s estimated that 45 percent of businesses fail within their first five years, so entrepreneurs have had to become more agile than ever when it comes to keeping their companies intact. At the time of publication, businesses deemed non-essential have been closed or severely limited by local and state-wide governments. Industries hit the hardest by social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates include retail, transportation, and travel.
There are resources available to provide temporary economic relief, but Black and Latinx female founders may again find themselves getting the short end of the stick.
Here are three easy ways to help these leaders come out on the other side of this crisis:
- Social Share: On the surface, it may seem too simple to matter, but awareness is at the very top of a business’s sales funnel. By increasing their visibility, you’re increasing the odds that their target customer will find them. Like, comment on, and share their social media posts. Algorithms on Instagram and Facebook favor posts with higher levels of engagement, showing them to a larger percentage of users. You can also review their business on one of the big three (Google, Yelp, or Facebook). Recommendations are a trust-building tool, and potential customers are more likely to work with a company with a high trust rating. Check out this list of black female-owned businesses you can support today.
- Purchase (When You Can): This sounds like a no-brainer, but during hard times like this, some money is better than no money. If just 10 people spend $20 on merchandise or a subscription service, the company makes $200. That’s the difference between eating or being hungry this week, for some startup founders. It could even work out in your favor if the business is offering discounts on its products and services. Combine this with social sharing, and the effect is amplified, making a significant difference for a small business.
- Donate: If your desire to support exceeds your budget to do so, consider making a donation to organizations like digitalundivided that have developed crisis funds. The BIG Alumni Emergency Fund and the Doonie Fund were established by digitalundivided, a social startup dedicated to the empowerment of Black and Latinx women founders. The Doonie Fund offers an immediate $100 payment to Black women entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19, and will aid at least 100 women by April 15th, 2020. The BIG Alumni Emergency Fund benefits entrepreneurs who have successfully completed their accelerator program. This fund was launched on March 25, 2020, and within two days, the organization awarded nearly 30% of its alumni pool with funding for their ventures.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, but these small efforts often lend a big hand to the women of color entrepreneurs who were brave enough to chase their dreams.