Recognizing unique challenges, women entrepreneurs pursue success
Many women are passionate about making their dream of starting a business a reality, and the results of a new AARP survey show that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped them. Still, some say they faced barriers based on their gender and were unaware of resources that could have helped.
AARP’s national survey conducted in the summer of 2022 included a national sample of women over 40 who had started businesses since January 2020. Businesses ranged from restaurants to healthcare companies , with the most popular category such as retail shopping or e-commerce. companies
Entrepreneurship factors and barriers
The results revealed that women’s decisions to become entrepreneurs were most often motivated by women’s decisions rather than ‘needs’. About a quarter (26%) of women said they always wanted to start a business, and 19% said they did it to follow their passion; another 15% were looking for extra income and 15% wanted flexible work options.
For many, the COVID-19 pandemic was a motivating factor for setting up their own business: 43% said it had a major impact and 24% reported it was a minor influence. Respondents who said the pandemic played less of a role in the timing of their business launch were better off financially.
Age, and perhaps the accumulated resources that went with it, has been an advantage in business ownership. Women entrepreneurs over 60 were less likely to have faced financial challenges since starting their business, with a solid majority (62%) avoiding such challenges, compared to 29% of women 40-year-old female entrepreneurs.
About two-thirds (69%) of the women surveyed poured their personal savings into their start-up, while significantly smaller percentages of women took out loans from national banks (2%) and regional or community banks ( 4%). Getting credit was difficult for 35% of respondents and another 35% had problems getting financing. In fact, the main challenges women faced in setting up their businesses were finance, cash flow and attracting customers.
The women acknowledged that gender disparities in the marketplace are real. In terms of access to capital, the survey showed that 70% believed that women face unique challenges that are different from men.
Awareness and availability of resources
Only 42% of respondents said they knew of organizations that specifically fund women-owned businesses, and of those, only 13% have applied for help. Most respondents said they passed up the opportunity because they didn’t know enough about it or weren’t familiar with specific organizations that offer such assistance.
Similarly, women entrepreneurs were eager for help to get their businesses off the ground, but many reported having difficulty finding information on how to get customers (42%), marketing (39%) and funding (37%).
Despite these challenges, most of the women were optimistic about their entrepreneurial journey. AARP found that the vast majority of women (98 percent) agreed they made the right decision in starting their business, and 39 percent said their business was doing much better or slightly better than expected. ‘I expected.
AARP’s research reflects the need for additional support and training for women entrepreneurs to grow their business. Respondents said they were looking for resources in marketing (24%), recruiting and staffing (11%), and finance (10%), and these areas were where women were most likely to have sought training.
The AARP survey included 608 women over 40 who started a business with up to 100 employees between January 2020 and June 2022 and was conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Respondents were contacted by phone and online from June 6 to July 19, 2022.
For more information about this survey, contact Lona Choi-Allum at email@example.com. For media inquiries, contact External Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choi-Allum, Lona. Women Entrepreneurs: Starting a Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Washington, DC: AARP Research, October 2022. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00520.001