The coronavirus crisis certainly didn’t herald good news for anybody.
Venture capital firm 500 Startups recently released the findings of a survey of women business owners — and it shed light on some troubling trends.
Of the 199 female entrepreneurs polled, 69 percent reported having 6 months or less of runway before possibly having to close, and an additional 22 percent projected having less than a year. In addition, 40 percent said the pandemic has impacted their fundraising goals.
“Unfortunately, we may be in danger of losing the little progress we’ve accomplished on diversity and the small gains female-led startups have made over the last 3 years in raising money,” 500 Startups co-founder and CEO Christine Tsai told The Story Exchange. “The economic fallout of Covid-19 could prove harder on women than men, especially if investors retreat into what they might perceive as safer and more familiar investments.”
Plus, in some ways, social distancing measures are already affecting the everyday lives of founders. Customer acquisition and retention are pain points for many of the female founders who participated. And, a third of the women surveyed said they have found simultaneously running a company while caring for family to be “very difficult or impossible to manage.”
“Now is the time more than ever to help female founders by providing them with the right resources,” Tsai says.
Many are seeking that support online. The study found that just over 60 percent of respondents have attempted to connect via online webinars and networking events, while nearly 42 percent turned to female founder networks and 32 percent took to social media.
[Related: The Story Exchange’s ‘Advice & Tips’ Section]
Time will tell how the pandemic will impact women entrepreneurs. But, researchers concluded, it’s already clear that “Covid-19 is not only a test of our short-term support for female founders, but also of our ability to continue creating more equitable opportunities in the long term.”