Funding is scarce for female entrepreneurs

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Women in business can tell you story after story of their experiences with gender discrimination and the data confirms their tales. 

Joanna Smith is the founder and CEO of The Wave, a workspace and social club in Salt Lake City for female and female-identifying entrepreneurs. She said finding funding for her business has been extremely challenging.

“I’ve been told if you put a man in charge, we will fund you. I’ve been told, we’re worried that women are just going to come in and glue-gun the place up,” said Smith.

Nationally women own 30% of all small businesses; in Utah it’s higher at 39%. But national research shows that women receive only 4.4% of all small business loan dollars and 2.2% of all venture capital dollars. 

Lyda Bigelow is a researcher and associate professor at the University of Utah and she was able to show it all comes down to gender bias. In her 2014 research study titled, “Skirting the Issues” she and her team set up a fake IPO marketplace and brought in students and professionals to determine the worth of the companies.

“We were able to discover that the actual processes these investors use to evaluate these IPOs changes with the gender of the CEO,” said Bigelow. 

The Utah Chamber of Commerce has provided a list of possible funding option for small business owners here.

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