The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a major toll on women business owners across the United States, according to a survey by Charlotte Observer that was released Wednesday.
Of women-owned businesses, 86% reported they would not be able to operate for more than six months if current conditions and revenue continue. In addition, 44% reported they would not last another one to three months.
More than 70% of businesses reported canceled events or business and over 60% reported challenges with COVID-19 occupancy limits. Around 60% of businesses have had to decrease staffing during the pandemic.
On top of economic impacts, 83% of women business owners also reported an increase in gender-specific challenges during the pandemic.
The majority of respondents said year-round challenges including balancing family and work, being taken seriously as a business professional, and gaining access to funding due to gender discrimination had increased.
“Seeing the grim data and some of the comments have been gut-wrenching,” said Kate Hyatt, leader of the women-owned business segment.
“However, it also served as a huge motivator for us to keep going and do what we do to provide women-owned businesses with the resources and tools they need to succeed.”
When asked what type of assistance is needed, 95% of businesses said financial aid, and 60% said rent relief. A whopping 77% reported that they have received some form of financial aid already but only 16% have received rent support.
In addition to financial help, 70% of businesses said they could use assistance with marketing support, 57% business strategy, and 51% website/e-commerce abilities.
“We can only be successful if we understand the specific challenges and needs of our diverse constituents,” Lea said. “First-hand data on a segment as impacted as women-owned businesses is essential.”
Nearly 1,000 women-owned businesses across North & South Carolina responded to the survey, the majority being small businesses with less than 10 employees. Respondent businesses had up to 500 employees.