SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A recent study conducted by federal, state and local business organizations took a closer look at how COVID-19 and the pandemic impacted women-owned businesses.
The pandemic impacted millions of lives, including people who had just started their businesses like Miriam Jimenez.
“But I remember when I saw the situation, and I said, ‘We don’t know how long it would take, the pandemic, my thinking was closing my business,” Jimenez said.
After seeing how the pandemic rocked the world, people like Hei-ock Kim and Daniel Fitzgerald, along with other business entities, looked into how it hit the business community, particularly in women.
“We also found women of color in particular, again no surprise, tend to be more challenged by financial difficulties as well as cultural difficulties in accessing capital,” Kim, the Exec. Dir. & Founder of Kim Center for Social Balance said.
Their findings showed that 80 percent of those who took part in the study requested financial assistance since March 2020.
It found that women of color were two to three times more likely to be denied relief assistance compared to men and white women.
Some also cited issues with not knowing how to apply or trusting who was dishing out the funds.
“Many women had to close down or shut down their businesses or put them on pause for caregiving purposes,” Fitzgerald, Regional Dir. of San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center Network, said. “They weren’t involved in some of the communications. They weren’t involved in the day-to-day of their business. They were focused on that, and they lost out in those narrow time windows for some of the funding opportunities.”
But Jimenez says she was able to secure grant and relief money after working with business advisors and also moving to online outlets to sell her line of pet wear.
She recommends people reach out to these kinds of organizations the best they can.
“Maybe we need more information about it. I got the information because I’m a client from these two organizations. But a lot of people don’t know how to start a business or how to go to ask for help or support,” Jimenez said.
Opening those doors is what some hope comes from this study.
“But it’s very important to be able to bring the right decision makers to the table to speak with the stakeholder groups who are impacted," Kim said. "So we can create avenues of communication and understanding."
Researchers hope to be able to dive deeper into the regional aspects of the statewide survey to find out the more specific impacts on business owners in a given area.