The importance of women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) to the economy of the whole world cannot be overstated. In 2021, there were over 13 million enterprises in the United States that were owned by women, making up approximately 42% of the total number of firms in the nation, as stated in a research published by American Express. Yet, despite the rise in the number of women who are starting their own businesses, women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) continue to encounter a variety of obstacles that might stunt their development and success. In this post, we will discuss the most significant obstacles that face small enterprises that are owned by women.
Availability of Financial Resources and Capital
Access to money and capital is one of the most significant obstacles that women-owned and other small businesses face. Despite the fact that women-owned firms make up 42% of all enterprises, they only get 4.4% of all small company loans, according to a research published by the National Women’s Business Council. Due to a lack of access to money and resources, it may be difficult for women-owned and operated small businesses (WOSBs) to invest in chances for development, extend their operations, or weather unanticipated financial setbacks.
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Insufficient access to mentoring programs and professional networking events
Lack of access to mentoring and networking opportunities is another difficulty that women-owned and operated small businesses face. Women who want to start their own businesses may have a difficult time finding mentors or advisers who can give them with direction and assistance as they negotiate the hurdles of operating a small company. In addition, women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) may have difficulty gaining access to chances for professional networking. These possibilities include conferences and events hosted by industries, which may assist WOSBs in forming new contacts and growing their client base.
Striking a Balance Between Work and Family Obligations
A significant number of female entrepreneurs struggle to juggle the demands of their businesses with those of their families. It is common practice to place the bulk of responsibility for providing caregiving services on women, whether it is for children, aging parents, or other members of the family. Because of this, it may be challenging for women company owners to commit the necessary amount of time and energy to properly expand and run their companies.
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Gender Bias and Stereotyping
Moreover, gender prejudice and stereotyping may be substantial obstacles for women-owned and operated small businesses. There is a possibility that women business owners may experience prejudice or unfavorable preconceptions, which may hinder their capacity to get funds, attract clients, or create partnerships. For instance, investors may be less reluctant to put money into a company that is run by a woman because they may believe that female entrepreneurs are less capable or devoted than male entrepreneurs.
Access to Government Contracts and Other Procurement Opportunities Is Restricted
Opportunities to get government contracts and other types of procurement may be a beneficial source of income for smaller enterprises. Nonetheless, there is a possibility that WOSBs may confront obstacles while attempting to access these possibilities. The United States Government has committed to allocating 5% of all money spent on federal contracts to women-owned and operated small businesses by the year 2015. According to a study published by the Small Business Administration in 2020, women-owned firms obtained just 4.4% of the total cash awarded by the federal government in contract awards.
Inadequate access to technology as well as a lack of digital skills
Access to technology and the ability to use it effectively are both crucial to the success of a small company in today’s digital economy. Nonetheless, it’s possible that many WOSBs don’t have access to the tools and resources they need to properly exploit digital technology. Because of this, they may be at a competitive disadvantage when compared to bigger companies that have a greater capacity to invest in technology.
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Managing the Effects of the Imposter Syndrome
Last but not least, the impostor syndrome may be a big obstacle for many women who are business owners. The imposter syndrome is a psychological condition that occurs when a person has self-doubt about their talents and a concern that they will be found out to be a phony. It’s possible that women business owners are more prone to suffer from impostor syndrome, especially in fields traditionally dominated by males. This condition might have a negative influence on their self-confidence and their willingness to take chances.
Small enterprises run by women are an essential component of the economy on a worldwide scale. Despite this, women-owned and minority-owned businesses (WOSBs) continue to confront a variety of obstacles that might impede their development and success. These problems, which might include access to money and capital as well as gender prejudice and stereotyping, can be substantial hurdles to entrance for women entrepreneurs as well as impediments to their success. We can make it easier for women-owned and minority-owned businesses to flourish and make valuable contributions to the economy if we acknowledge the difficulties they face and work to find solutions to those issues.