INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S Day is on March 8, and there’s plenty to celebrate when it comes to female business owners.
There are more than 12 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., according to 2018 numbers from The 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express. Since 2007, the number of women-owned business has increased by 58 percent, an increase that’s much higher than the 12 percent increase of U.S. businesses overall.
Want to do what you can to fuel that growth? Here’s how you can find women-owned businesses and support them with your spending.
Shop at Small Women-Owned Businesses
Finding women-owned businesses can be tricky because it may not be evident from a business’s website who founded the business or who runs it. However, Women Owned, a joint initiative from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and WEConnect International, has a searchable directory of female-owned businesses. Results in the database are WBENC-certified as being at least 51 percent owned, operated, controlled and managed by women. Most of the listings are for small businesses, so this is an opportunity to support small and women-owned businesses at once.
Shop at Large National Businesses Run or Co-Founded by Women
If you prefer shopping online, or if no small local businesses have exactly what you want, do some research to find out which large national or international businesses and services are run, founded or co-founded by women. Some major examples for consumers include Orangetheory Fitness, Eventbrite, Sugarfina, Bumble, Away, Kendra Scott and Aden & Anais.
Shop Retailers Honoring International Women’s Day
Some independent book stores feature books by female authors in the lead-up to International Women’s Day. This year, World Market is featuring products made by women-run or female-founded businesses, as well as books written by women, in its International Women’s Day collection. The Bouqs Company, meanwhile, is offering a curated collection of flowers from female-operated farms on March 8. On that day, you’ll be able to save 20 percent on your order from that collection with code WOMENSDAY20.
Donate to Organizations That Support Women-Owned Businesses
While buying products from women-owned businesses is a great way to support existing ventures, a donation to an organization that supports female entrepreneurs helps ensure more women-owned businesses get off the ground with funding, courses and other resources. Examples include the Tory Burch Foundation, Women’s Venture Fund and Womentum, which offers crowdfunding for female entrepreneurs in developing nations.
In fact, some organizations run campaigns that allow you to purchase products that contribute to their causes. For example, during the most recent holiday season, the Tory Burch Foundation ran a seed box promotion that allowed buyers to purchase a gift box for $98 that contained products from female entrepreneurs. Proceeds went to the foundation.
Visit Women’s Markets When Traveling
If you’re visit a country with a strong market culture, check whether your destination has a women-run marketplace. One example is the Mother’s Market in the city of Imphal, India, which is completely run by women and sells goods made or grown by women. Or check out the women’s handicraft shop, called the Mujeres Artesanas de las Regiones de Oaxaca, in Oaxaca, Mexico.
AmazonSmile automatically donates 0.5 percent of every eligible Amazon purchase you make to a charity of your choice. Just log in to your Amazon account, navigate to the AmazonSmile site, search for organizations that support female business owners and set one as your charity of choice. Nonprofits currently in the AmazonSmile portal include Womentum and the Tory Burch Foundation. Whenever you shop via the AmazonSmile portal site, part of your purchase will be donated seamlessly. If you’re a frequent user of Amazon, this is probably the easiest way to contribute to female entrepreneurs, as you won’t have to drastically change where you shop.
Buy Products From Women-Run Businesses Being Crowdfunded
Seek out women-run companies still in crowdfunding mode to help them thrive in the early stages. Because many crowdfunding campaigns often allow you to buy the product being made in exchange for a donation, consider incorporating these purchases into your gift-buying. Or use crowdfunding donations as an excuse to try a clever new product. In addition to Kickstarter, consider iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform exclusively for women.
Shop Handcrafted Goods on Etsy
According to a 2017 report from Etsy, more than 80 percent of its sellers are women. So, instead of buying something from a store, consider searching for it on Etsy. You’ll likely end up supporting a female entrepreneur – whether she’s operating her Etsy shop as a side hustle or main source of income – and get an item that can’t be found in stores.
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