With small businesses suffering, women turning to entrepreneurship

As of December, more than one-quarter of U.S. small businesses have closed, according to data from Opportunity Insights, The Washington Post reports. However, entrepreneurship is up, with women leading the surge. 

As of mid-December, there have been more than 1.5 million new business applications in the U.S., up 82% in the third quarter compared with a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

A new survey from the professional women’s network AllBright found that 1 in 4 of its members plan to launch a business. (AllBright doesn’t reveal membership numbers but says it has “tens of thousands” of U.S. members.) Debbie Wosskow, the organization’s co-founder, says those surveyed expressed a desire for more autonomy in their work and control over their time. 

Additionally, data compiled for The Washington Post by the professional networking site LinkedIn found that the share of female entrepreneurs on its platform grew 5% year-over-year, from March through November, more than double the pre-pandemic average. LinkedIn’s analysts looked at female members who had changed their title to “founder” during the pandemic. 

By mid-2020, the data was “pretty clear that the pandemic recession would be a disaster for women,” says Debora Spar, professor and senior associate dean at Harvard Business School. The pandemic’s job losses and stay-at-home orders hit women especially hard. Since February, women have lost nearly 6 million jobs, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the National Women’s Law Center. 

Meanwhile, women still able to work from home find themselves doing several jobs at once: paid employment, housework, the care and education of children and, often, caring for aging parents.  

“That’s an awful lot to be trying to cram into a week,” Spar says. “For some women, entrepreneurship has become the only good option. You have women in desperate situations who lost their jobs, their rent is due, and they are now making cake pops, potpourri, doing consulting.” Read the full story.

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