Updated Mar 8, 2022 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the pandemic's burden on businesswomen

On Tuesday, March 8th, Axios political reporter Sarah Mucha and business reporter Erica Pandey examined the pandemic era’s unique impact on working women and entrepreneurs, featuring Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman.

Isabel Guzman emphasized that women largely drove 2021’s entrepreneurship boom, how small business creation serves as an avenue for women to return to the workforce, and which industries are seeing an influx of businesses started by women.

  • On women as a force driving entrepreneurship: “Women and women of color continue to drive entrepreneurship, and we’re seeing it despite the uncertainty that exists during the pandemic, so many businesses are launching and so many people are starting their American dream of business ownership, and I think that there’s been a great economic recovery.”
  • On more women pursuing careers in STEM: “I think that it’s limitless in terms of what our women entrepreneurs can do…there’s so many more large global problems and domestic challenges that we want to overcome around climate change and energy, and so there’s opportunity for women to enter there and you’re seeing them across the board.”

Sen. Joni Ernst highlighted how supply chain issues have impacted small businesses, how she envisions a bipartisan path forward for economic proposals helping women-owned small businesses, and how federal contracting for women has continuously fallen short.

  • On bipartisan proposals outside of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda: “We already had a number of those initiatives that have been proposed through Congress in a bipartisan manner, so the things that we all agreed upon, several of those issues will focus on things like child care, which is a really big issue for women-owned small business.”
  • On federal contracting obligations for women-owned businesses: “When I wrote that article doing the research for that, it was amazing to me that the federal government has a goal of at least 5% of federal contracts going to women-owned small business. And yet, only twice in the last almost 30 years or so…only since then have we seen two times that the federal government has hit that goal.”

In the View from the Top segment, Meta Global Business Group VP Nicola Mendelsohn conveyed the current challenges and opportunities for female entrepreneurs and business owners.

  • “In January, we surveyed small businesses during the height of Omicron, and unfortunately, it showed that a quarter of U.S. women-led small business stores were still shuttered in January, and that was compared to 18% of male-led counterparts…despite being really hardest hit by the Omicron wave, the findings also show something really interesting, and that’s that women are actually leading the way with online tools through the pandemic.”

Thank you Meta for sponsoring this event.

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