Women have a lot to celebrate in March! This month is designated as Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is on March 8th.
International Women’s Day was created to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. The campaign theme for 2018 is #PressForProgress.
The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report finds that gender equality is over 200 years away. With that in mind, the SmartBiz loans team believes there has never been a more important time to #PressforProgress and strive for gender parity.
How are we doing that? Our efforts to support women are two fold. We strongly support the women in our own offices as well as our female customers – women who own successful small businesses across America. Here’s how we celebrate and support women this month and throughout the year.
Team Member Equality
SmartBiz Loans is part of the FinTech (financial technologies) industry, typically a male dominated sector. In fact, women represent just 23% of FinTech staff. The CEO of Innovate Finance, publisher of the annual Women in Fintech Powerlist, says, “We’ve still got work to be done.”
With that in mind, SmartBiz Loans launched a program to support the women on our team. To educate and inspire, we hold a quarterly Women’s Lunch. During the meal, professional challenges and achievements are discussed and guest speakers share their experiences as a woman working in FinTech.
At February’s lunch, Product Manager Maddie Hall told her story of professional success in the FinTech industry. Judy Balint, CMO of SmartBiz Loans, speaks about the importance of this effort to support female team members saying, “SmartBiz is already ahead of the pack, with over 30% of our FinTech team comprised of women. However, our goal is to reach 50%, and we believe one way to help get there is to continue to foster ongoing events like this where women can comfortably discuss the unique challenges they face in the workplace.”
Natalie Jocovic, Director of Recruitment for SmartBiz Loans, travels the U.S. to spread the word about opportunities for women, the SmartBiz culture of equality and our policy of equal pay for equal work. She says, “Women bring diversity in ideas, perspective and innovation to our team. This diversity is crucial in improved problem solving and more innovative outcomes. By hiring women, we unleash underutilized leadership potential that will ultimately transform the FinTech space.
Did you know that more than 9.4 million firms in the United States are owned by women? And did you know those women-owned businesses generate more than $1.5 trillion in sales and employ 7.9 million people? These are impressive numbers, considering until 1988, women were required to provide a signature from a male relative in order to get a business loan!
Despite the success and growth of businesses owned by women, a troubling blanket of unfairness still exists. A 2016 study by Biz2Credit showed that female-owned businesses receive loan approvals 33% less often than male-owned businesses.
At SmartBiz Loans, we believe that every applicant, regardless of gender or other minority designation, deserves to be judged fairly across the board when applying for a low-cost SBA loan. We use technology to help level the playing field for all entrepreneurs.
As a result, we’ve have experienced 30% of SBA 7(a) funded loans going to women-owned businesses compared to the national average of only a 14%. In addition to women business owners, our proprietary online platform helps other minority business owners: 5.2% of funded customers report they are African-American compared to the national average of 2% for all SBA 7(a) loans and we skew stronger on SBA 7(a) loans funded for Veteran-owned businesses with 8.4% vs. national average of 5%.
To further assist women entrepreneurs as well as other small business owners, SmartBiz Loans has created a new and free online educational cool called SmartBiz Advisor. This unique, AI driven tool acts as an Intelligent CFO™ , helping small business owners assess the financial health of their business, just like the CFO would in a large company.
Women Entrepreneurs Success Stories
One of the many woman-owned business we’ve worked with is Epic Global Talent. Founder Laura Tabsharani has advice perfectly tailored for International Women’s Day.
Want to learn more about the women who have been granted an SBA loan facilitated by SmartBiz Loans? Check out these small business stories on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog.
Not sure if you qualify for an SBA loan? Try the new SmartBiz Advisor™ online, educational tool to learn about how you can get your business SBA or bank loan ready before you apply – no cost involved. You can assess key criteria banks consider and where your business stands on each. Learn more about SmartBiz Advisor here.