A year after the Made in NYC campaign to promote New York City entrepreneurship was launched, the Deputy Mayor and First Lady have consigned WENYC (Women Entrepreneurs of New York City), a nationwide entrepreneurship initiative focused on women.
The number of women entrepreneurs in New York and nationwide is growing faster than for men. But men in the city still “own 1.5 times more businesses than women, employ 3.5 times more people, and make on average 4.5 times more revenue,” WENYC’s report notes.
For WENYC, closing this gender gap is about increasing economic security for women and their families and strengthening the impact of women from underserved communities on the city’s economy. The report identified several challenges that women face to a greater degree than men:
- Funding: 70 percent of women cited difficulties accessing funding to start and expand their business. 90 percent used their savings as their main source of capital. The men surveyed also experienced this challenge, but they are twice as likely to get a bank loan and start businesses with twice as much seed capital.
- Hiring: Of New York’s 359,000 women entrepreneurs, 92 percent are the sole employees of their business. The yearly income of the average “non-employer” business is $32,000, two-thirds of the city’s median income.
- Growing a customer base: Women who were the sole employees of their businesses were especially likely to have trouble doing the research and marketing necessary to grow a customer base.
- Mentors and networks: Half of the women entrepreneurs have trouble finding mentors and creating mutually beneficial relationships with them, and 75 percent expressed difficulty accessing business networks.
These challenges are connected. Lack of networking opportunities and funding together make it very difficult to hire, which drastically limits a business’s ability to scale. The resources cited by the WENYC report and others are a start to give female entrepreneurs the opportunities to take advantage of their full potential.
Read the full report here.
Contributed by Emily Lever.