(BPT) - Chances are good that you know at least one woman who runs a small business. She might run a retail shop, own a restaurant or be in charge of a thriving small company — or she may be a one-woman operation providing goods or services via her online or home-based business. Globally, women comprise about one-third of all entrepreneurs, and that number is growing. It is estimated that 1 billion women will enter the economy as employers, employees, entrepreneurs and producers by 2022 yet only 5% of new articles that discuss the economy have women as a central focus.
As consumers we have a massive opportunity to amplify the voices of female business owners in the U.S. and beyond, and to encourage them in their efforts to improve their livelihoods and the lives of their families, here are some simple ways you can show them that their work is important to you.
Boost their social media
For the women business owners you know and support, there’s nothing better than positive reviews and testimonials. Studies show that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any type of advertising.
It’s easy to help boost the social media presence of female entrepreneurs by liking, sharing and posting their events or announcements on any social media platform where you spend time. And if you’ve ever purchased their product or used their service, take a couple of minutes to give them a positive online review. Your voice can make a big impact.
Give concrete support
Take time to research which companies are run by women or have women-in-business initiatives. Then, celebrate these successful female entrepreneurs and their businesses by shopping at their stores, referring others to their business, or by donating to and buying from organizations and companies that champion female-run business ventures.
For example, DOVE(R) Chocolate is empowering female entrepreneurs through a partnership with CARE, the leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. This October, their partnership has helped open a new marketplace for women-led businesses in the village of Gueyo, a centrally located commerce area among the cocoa fields of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa, where 40% of the world’s cocoa is produced. The new market features space for hundreds of women to sell their goods daily, in much improved conditions that include a reinforced structure connected to the electrical grid, secure sales areas, dedicated vending spots and other infrastructural improvements. This will help support women in Cote d'Ivoire in growing their small businesses, which in turn benefits their entire community.
Read books and articles written by female entrepreneurs and thought leaders, then recommend and share the best ones with friends and entrepreneurs you know. Nothing is more inspirational than reading about others who have overcome adversity to achieve success.
Celebrate the successes of women in businesses by hosting an event at a women-run business. Invite a local female entrepreneur to come and speak at your school or alumni club, workplace, social club, house of worship or civic organization. Additionally, feel empowered to share your own story, accomplishments and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Hearing about female entrepreneurs in the community not only builds awareness among your colleagues and peers, but provides great role models for girls and young women just getting started in their own careers.
To support women and their entrepreneurial spirit in Cote d’Ivoire and around the world, visit: www.care.org/dove. To celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month this October, take time to honor all the women who are making an impact on the economy and in their communities by starting and running small businesses worldwide.