(WHTM) — October is National Women’s Small Business Month. Although the month is almost over, people can support women-owned businesses year-round.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 13 million women-owned businesses and counting. In 2019, women-owned businesses represented 42% of all U.S. businesses and generated $1.9 trillion of revenue.
Jennie Groff is part owner of Lancaster Sweet Shoppe and Stroopies. Stroopies has an all-women team and employs resettled refugee women living in Lancaster City.
While making the Stroopies — a Dutch stroopwafel — the women are also offered English classes as part of the paid workday.
Groff acknowledges that there are struggles when building a business. Accion Opportunity Fund, a financial support system for small businesses, says funding is often a main obstacle.
Consumers can support women-owned businesses by shopping at them, promoting them, or investing.
“Small businesses, they face an $87 billion annual funding gap, and so the investment that they really need to meet their full potential is so necessary,” said Desha Elliott, business advisor with the Accion Opportunity Fund.
“I feel like there’s more work to be done, but I feel like there’s momentum in the right direction with opening up doors for women entrepreneurs,” Groff said.
And for those interested in starting a business, Groff said, “Talk to someone who has started, maybe they’re a step ahead of you, that you can just learn from. So many of my women friends did that for me when I was starting.”
Stroopies employs 24 refugee women. The goal is for them to grow into management positions or start businesses of their own.