Despite inflation, commodity prices and interest rates, women small business owners, or SBOs, remain optimistic and resilient, according to Bank of America’s 2023 Women and Minority Business Owner Spotlight report. The report shows that 63% of women entrepreneurs expect revenue to increase in the coming year, and 73% feel prepared to cope with the economic downturn.
Oklahoma City women are a significant force in Oklahoma’s economy. In fact, if all women in the state took off work for one day, Oklahoma’s GDP would lose approximately $222.4 million. Women-owned businesses in our state continue to grow, growing 10% from 2015 to 2019.
During Women’s Small Business Month, it is important to emphasize that although they have high aspirations, it will not be without difficulties. Here are the three most important challenges:
Work-life balance: Women are more likely to take care of their families, which adds additional responsibilities to running a business. In fact, 34% identify as a caregiver, which leads to burnout (33%), taking time off from work (31%), and feeling they have less time to focus on their business (17%).
When women are teetering on the edge, taking care of their mental health is extremely important. Fifty-three percent believe their mental health is good, 42% rate it as fair and 5% rate it as poor. Ninety percent spend time taking care of personal responsibilities.
Access to capital: Access to capital has been a significant challenge for SBO women. 51% believe they have equal access to capital, while 49% believe they do not. It is worth noting that 31% believe that women will never have equal access to capital. On average, they believe that by 2037 they will have equal access to the capital needed to start a business.
External challenges: Inflation remains a major concern for 78%. Other major concerns include the U.S. political environment, interest rates and commodity prices. However, all economic concerns remained unchanged from year to year.
Despite these challenges, survey data shows that SBO women remain confident. In any case, it helped shape the entrepreneurial spirit of women. When faced with economic challenges, women learn how to adapt, innovate and ultimately thrive.
Bank of America prides itself on supporting women entrepreneurs and believes that everyone is invaluable in creating a healthy local and national economy. The bank strives to provide the necessary resources to business owners so that they can realize their dreams.
Amy Dowuona is a small business banker at Bank of America-Oklahoma City.
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