"We will spend our money mindfully, allocating a portion of our purchases to woman-owned businesses and businesses owned by people of color. We will withhold our spending from companies that objectify us (Hi, Hooters) or do not reflect us in their employee base, their management team, or board of directors.” — Let’s Disrupt Money
Ever counted the women you do business with every day? The women doctors, dentists, attorneys you go to? How about the writers on your bookshelf? What’s the story behind your shopping list?
Women are launching businesses like crazy
The good — make that excellent — news is that we women have entrepreneurial fever. There are 11.6 million businesses owned by women in the US.
And between 1997 and 2017, the number of woman-owned businesses increased by 114%. That’s a growth rate more than 2.5 times the national average.
And businesses owned by women of color grew at more than four times that rate, by 467%.
… but we’re not getting the support we deserve
The bad — make that infuriating — news is that companies launched by men are far more likely to get some sort of funding to get started. Women and people of color are denied for small business loans more frequently than white men are. Woman-run businesses get less than 2.5% of venture capital dollars. All this even though the research is pretty clear that companies founded by women outperform companies founded by men.
And this gender gap is hurting our ability to get ahead. For every dollar a woman-owned business makes, a business owned by men makes $2.30. That’s a bigger earnings gap for entrepreneurs than the “80 cents to the dollar” stat about the gender pay gap we hear so often. And with woman-owned business currently bringing in $17 trillion dollars in sales — that works out to an extra $22.1 trillion in revenues(!) if we could close that gap.
Let’s disrupt money by spending our money on women
We can do this. We can disrupt money by supporting women-owned businesses. Because not only are companies led by women more successful, but women leaders hire more women and pay women more. Read: The rising of the tide, the floating of the boats.
And we have evidence that this can work: Campaigns by women on crowdfunding sites already raise 13% more money than those by men — partly because women intentionally choose to support other women. We direct trillions of dollars in consumer spending; one estimate has women directing $72 trillion by 2020. So we can do this; it won’t even be hard.
How to find woman-owned and women-run companies
The National Association of Women Business Owners’ member directory is a great place to start – NAWBO’s an excellent resource for entrepreneurs, and its directory is extensive.
Women Owned, a directory maintained by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a third-party certifier of US businesses owned, operated, and controlled by women.
PursePower, an independent directory of companies owned at least 50% by a woman, run by a woman CEO, and/or have at least 20% women on their board of directors.
Google “directory of women” and your chosen business type or location to find local or specialized results — often crowdsourced by women in that profession.
One in-depth niche list is the National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms.
You can also go all-out and order the National Directory of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses, listing companies officially certified by the US government, for $184.
To find non-US businesses: WeConnect is mostly directed to businesses looking to put more women into their global supply chains (cool) but also regularly features the entrepreneurs in its network.
If you’re looking for a boycott list that’s primarily political (guns and Trump),Grab Your Wallet is woman-founded.
Ledbetter is a journalist-maintained index of companies rated by how they treat women.
Similarly, Gender Fair is an app that rates companies on their practices for gender, diversity, philanthropy, and leadership. Only 15% of companies meet their (really excellent) standards, and the app is easy to search while you’re shopping.
Let’s keep the listmaking going: To share your favorite (and, ahem, your own) woman-run business, tag Ellevest and use the hashtag #DisruptMoney.
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