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Women’s Breakfast: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women-Owned Businesses

Date: 07/07/2020

Time: 9:00am
Where: LMHQ, Virtual,

Watch Women’s Breakfast: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women-Owned Businesses

While the global pandemic has taken its toll on small businesses everywhere, many of these hardships have been felt more acutely by women- and minority-owned businesses. From a smaller pool of investors to a lack of a preexisting relationship with a commercial bank, these businesses have had to overcome additional challenges to stay afloat. So what can a female entrepreneur do to keep the lights on during the COVID-19 outbreak and plan for the future while facing an uncertain economic landscape?

On July 7th, LMHQ, WE NYC and the NYC Women’s Chamber of Commerce hosted a conversation about existing resources, best practices for operational and mental resilience, and predictions for where the future economy might take small businesses. Key takeaways included:

-The primary challenge for women entrepreneurs continues to be access to capital
-Things to be doing with your startup/small business right now:
  • Get your paperwork in order so you can apply for grants and other opportunities for capital
  • Stay connected - people will guide you and give you info and resources
  • Connect with clients
  • Think about your business almost like you're starting it again
- In order to act quickly and pivot as required during these times, you need to be well-read
- Involve your team - make sure they feel a part of what is going on
-If you're looking for VC funding:
  • Business plans are living documents. You need to be able to pivot. That ability is also what VC's are looking for.
  • Show how you're defending market share
  • Don't spend time trying to convert the unconverted
  • VC's are investing in the entrepreneur.
-If you're a solopreneur, go find a partner!  Build alliances. There is power in numbers.
-Use this time to get your house in order. Do things like review your insurance, check your business resilience plan, make sure you are m/wbe certified!
-Focus on revenue and clients rather than VC funding. Look at other forms of financing.



Speakers included:
  • Quenia Abreu, President of the NYWCC
  • Diana Franco, Executive Director of Launch Services and WE NYC (moderator)
  • Gayle Jennings-O'Byrne, Co-founder, The WOCstar Fund
  • Annabelle Santos, Founder of Spadet

Quenia Abreu is the President and CEO of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to empowering and fostering the economic advancement of women through business ownership, microenterprise, and self-employment. Ms. Abreu founded the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2002. Today, the organization counts with more than 7,000 members, has provided technical assistance and training to more than 20,000 entrepreneurs, assisted with the creation of more than 10,000 new businesses, and aided entrepreneurs in accessing $45 million in capital and $65 million in procurement contracts.

Diana Franco is the Executive Director of WE NYC and Launch Services at The NYC Department of Small Business Services. The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building thriving neighborhoods across the five boroughs. She is a founding team member of three successful tech startups; Latinred S.L., CycleLogic, and Kactoos. She is also the founder of Grenout, an agency focused on helping foreign entrepreneurs launch their products and services in the U.S., and co-founder of CoreWoman, a foundation that aims to empower women professionally and economically.

Gayle Jennings-O'Byrne is a venture capitalist and published author who works with entrepreneurs to help them build and grow successful companies and with the investors /allies who are eager to support them. With over 20+ years of wall street, technology, philanthropy, training, and professional speaking experience, Gayle trains entrepreneurs on investor pitches and accessing the right capital at the right time. Gayle invests in women of color entrepreneurs (“WOCstars”) and diverse teams through the WOCstar Fund that she co-founded. She is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, the University of Michigan, and an attendee of the National University of Singapore and City of London Polytechnic.

Annabelle Santos is the founder of Spadét, a company that manufactures 100% natural, olive-based skin, hair, body and wellness products. With a background in biochemistry and previous businesses in Wellness and DNA Sequencing, in 2008, Annabelle started to make all natural products to help her 2-year-old daughter who suffered from extreme eczema, working out of a small lab in her basement. In 2014, she created Spadét and moved into a manufacturing facility in Harlem in 2017. Spadet currently sells products online and at 25 Whole Foods stores in the Northeast. In response to COVID-19, Spadet created a hand sanitizer using 75% isopropyl alcohol and their proprietary Olive Castile Soap.

This event is sponsored by Verizon. 


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