Jennifer Palmer, CEO, Gerber Finance Helping Fast-Growing Companies – Especially Women-Owned – Thrive with Financing, and Partnership
As someone in the finance industry, I have a front-row seat to incredible mom-owned startups. In my experience, moms have a great formula for entrepreneurial success. They are used to juggling roles, possess grit and perseverance, and excel at developing solutions to fit other moms’ needs.
There were 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. in 2020. This number reflects the growth of women leaving corporate America for the opportunity to chart their future, free from glass ceilings and institutional bias. Small-business owners also have the freedom to work where and when they want to, allowing for attendance at important life events without asking permission or explaining to bosses why you want to attend every afternoon youth sports game. Women-run businesses have a significant impact on the nation’s economy, and in 2019, women-owned businesses generated $1.9 trillion in revenues.
Why Moms Can Make Great Entrepreneurs
Becoming a mom opens you to a world of new products and services. From baby carriers to lunchboxes, women become immediate testers of a range of items. Some of the most creative and intelligent startups are born from moms’ ah-ha moments, such as when one mom’s realization that sandwich bags are hard to reuse and cause plastic waste led to the reusable bag. From creating the C-shaped and much-loved baby support and nursing pillow Boppy to the pacifier and lovey combo WubbaNub, moms develop products to solve real-life problems.
How To Support Mompreneurs
The pandemic wreaked havoc on the world. Probably one of the most vulnerable groups in the U.S. was working moms. The juggle of work and life became unbalanced for many as schools were shuttered, yet many businesses continued. According to a 2020 McKinsey survey, more than one in four working women said they were considering downsizing their careers or entirely dropping out of the workforce due to the pandemic. For working mothers, the number was one in three and even higher for those with small children. With so many upsides for moms to start their own companies, how can the business community better support women in their entrepreneurial pursuit?
One of the biggest challenges women face is getting funding to start their businesses. Despite the growth of women entrepreneurs, 66% report difficulty in obtaining the financing they need. In 2020, all-female founding teams received 2.4% of all venture capital funds in the U.S. That is a decrease from a high of 3.4% the year before, according to Crunchbase. Without financial support, innovative ideas from moms might not be realized, and society may miss out on some fantastic products and services.
Through industry organizations and peer-to-peer introductions, the business community can mentor, support and fund more mom-inspired companies. Mom founders need help understanding how to manage growth — from funding to hiring. Scaling business smartly is one of the most complex challenges for entrepreneurs. For those who own or control established companies, we can lean in and partner with startups to help them build their brand and leverage our audiences and social networks. And support for mom brands is not only the right thing to do — it makes good business sense. Helping women in our organizations and out lifts and builds a new generation of entrepreneurs leading to a more equitable business community.