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Survey: 86% of women-owned businesses in Charlotte won’t last over 6 months at current rates

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.

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