On Thursday of last week, my business partner and I went to the WENYC – Women’s Empowerment NYC brainstorming event in Staten Island at the Borough Conference Room. It was a two-hour event with a constant flow of brainstorming activities one after the other with the intention of finding what women entrepreneurs need to go forward.
The event was a marvel except that it represents a study phase from the City of New York’s Small Business Team that will likely not yield for two years. That is difficult. The aspects covered were about why women chose to go into business or are thinking about it, what barriers to entry and to doing business they’ve experienced, as well as strengths, weaknesses and ways found to go around these barriers.
After the event, there was a networking session and many of the women business owners who attended did as I did and took aside members of the city’s small business development team to explain the difficulties a bit more. It was a great opportunity to let them know why our businesses are not doing as well as they could with certain resources more available to us.
I was amazed at the similarities among various business owners and start-ups where it came to barriers and difficulties hindering our businesses growing. It wasn’t something I expected at all. Where a young man in Silicon Valley and his buddies want to start a business, there are massive resources, mentoring and access to funding available to him, but certainly not to women business owners whether young or old.
There is also a lack of information about how to use new technologies including internet resources in our businesses. How that is so lacking, I don’t know – but across the board, it was a problem many women business owners have here despite being in New York City with it’s massive technology-centric business thinking.
The team from the city will be hosting the same brainstorming sessions in each borough of the city, then bringing those results together from women business owners throughout the city, they will determine the kinds of services and programs to offer. This process looks at the problems first and the possible solutions, policy decisions and programs to offer based upon what is needed. The potential for real solutions will hopefully be more likely doing it this way, but those solutions are likely two years away.
In the meantime, I’m thinking that I should find another business to do altogether. I’m tired of this one and its entrenched in poverty outcome. It doesn’t work no matter what I do or how I do it. I’m tired of it. Going to this business oriented session where the goal was to get from us what the difficulties are, didn’t help solve any of those difficulties for any of us nor can I wait two years for that help to be available to my business.
From the WENYC site –
New York City leads the nation in the number of women entrepreneurs thriving in our neighborhoods. A whitepaper released today by SBS and supported by Citi reveals that women-owned businesses across the five boroughs employ over 190,000 people and generate approximately $50 billion in sales. In the past decade, women-owned firms grew by 43%, compared to 39% in overall business growth and 25% growth in men-owned businesses.
Despite the important economic impact and vibrant growth of women-owned businesses in New York City, men own 1.5 times more businesses than women, employ 3.5 times more people and make on average 4.5 times more revenue.