Alicia Scott went from answering telephones and doing the submitting at a roofing firm to being a manufacturing supervisor after which a vice chairman. She then struck out on her personal.
“A few years in the past, I made a decision I had sufficient working loopy hours and being the primary one in and the final to depart,” Scott mentioned. “I made a decision that it was time to make a change, so I began my very own firm.”
Scott, who lives in Golden, began Roots to Roofs in 2017, providing landscaping and exterior building providers. Her employees grew to eight full-time workers, however has been lower in half because the coronavirus pandemic exploded. The corporate’s income has dropped by 40%.
“We’ve tightened up ship fairly a bit. We’re not taking over any advertising, stuff like that,” mentioned Scott, when requested if she thinks her firm can dangle on. “But it surely’s been troublesome.”
Weathering the pandemic has been tough for a lot of companies, however a current report launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce mentioned female-owned small companies have been disproportionately affected. A survey by Ipsos discovered that the companies have been extra possible than these owned by males to report a major decline within the well being of their enterprise because the pandemic began. They have been additionally much less more likely to be planning new investments for the approaching 12 months.
Earlier than the pandemic, 67% of the male house owners described the general well being of their enterprise as “considerably or superb,” in comparison with 60% of female-owned companies. In July, 62% of male house owners nonetheless described their companies that means, whereas solely 47% of feminine house owners did.
“If you have a look at the broader context, it’s a large alarm bell,” mentioned Tom Sullivan, vice chairman for small-business coverage on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
That’s as a result of over the past 5 years, female-owned companies, about 42% of the small companies nationwide, noticed their employment develop 8%, in comparison with simply 1.8% for all companies, in keeping with a 2019 report by American Express. The variety of female-owned small companies elevated 21% throughout that interval in comparison with 9% for companies total.
Sullivan mentioned it’s troubling to see the fast-growing section of the small-business economic system dropping steam.
There are 139,760 feminine enterprise house owners in Colorado, accounting for 39.8% of all enterprise house owners within the state, in keeping with a brand new report by Self Financial, which helps construct and enhance credit score. Colorado has the 14th-highest proportion of feminine enterprise house owners.
The pandemic has magnified inequities confronted by minority- and female-owned companies, like entry to loans and different capital, Sullivan mentioned. Compounding the challenges is that many female-owned companies, resembling retail retailers and hair salons, depend on foot site visitors and are extra weak when restrictions are imposed.
Extra federal assist is required, Sullivan mentioned. The chamber is pushing for bipartisan help for extra stimulus funding.
Kisha Mays, founder and CEO of Just Fearless and an angel investor, mentioned she believes it’s a matter of when, not if, Congress approves extra money to assist companies address the pandemic.
“However that subsequent invoice of coronavirus reduction received’t occur at the least till possibly February 2021,” Mays mentioned. “And you continue to have Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Yr’s — three months primarily. How are these companies that need assistance now supposed to attend for 3 months and hope they’ll get assist?”
So, Mays, whose firm works with primarily female-owned companies, sped up a grant program that was within the works. Considered one of her ventures, HERstory Connections, a help community for feminine entrepreneurs, closed the primary spherical of functions for $5,000 grants and expects to open one other.
“It would assist them pay hire for a month or two. It would assist them make payroll,” Mays mentioned.
Her long-term aim is to see 1 million feminine enterprise founders produce a minimal of $1 million in annual income by the tip of 2025. Mays mentioned lower than 2% of female-owned companies now generate at the least seven figures in annual income.
“We begin companies at a sooner charge than males however we get funded at a slower charge,” Mays mentioned. “And now you see them struggling.”
Scott, the roofing firm proprietor, didn’t apply for a grant or different funding however has turned to ladies’s enterprise organizations, together with HERstory, for help, networking, coaching periods and different assets.
“Simply having somebody to speak with and join with, to have the ability to get by way of no matter challenges we’re going by way of, that’s been actually large for me.”