Black and Latina moms are becoming entrepreneurs now more than ever 

Since the pandemic began, more Black and Latina moms have been turning to entrepreneurship as a way to balance both domestic responsibilities and work. 

Today, more minority women are finding freedom in running their own businesses, after struggling at low-wage, hourly jobs and job losses during the height of the pandemic. 

According to research conducted by online e-commerce platform, Shopify, the pandemic has inspired moms to explore alternative ways to work. The study surveyed 1,532 parents in the U.S., and found that 62 percent of mothers were interested in supplementing their income, with more than half of moms reporting at least some interest in starting their own business. 

Of these women, Black and Latina moms reported the highest levels of interest in entrepreneurship.

Image source: Shopify.

More than half of women with children are interested in entrepreneurship

  • 16% of women with children are “very interested” in starting a business.
  • 44% of women with children are “slightly/moderately interested” in starting a business.
  • 40% of women with children are “not interested” in starting a business.

Black and Latina moms are turning to entrepreneurship to regain control over their lives 

Women of color have been disproportionately affected during the pandemic, with Black and Latina women suffering the greatest job losses. Since then, many have been looking for alternative sources of income and other employment options. Entrepreneurship is one way for many Black and Latina moms to regain control, freedom, and balance over their lives. 

Image source: Shopify.

Black and Latina mothers were 2x as likely to report wanting to start their own business compared to White and Asian mothers.

  • 33% of Black women with children said they’re “very interested” in starting a business.
  • 29% of Latina women with children said they’re “very interested” in starting a business. 
  • 13% of Asian women with children said they’re “very interested” in starting a business. 
  • 13% of White women with children said they’re “very interested” in starting a business. 

Treat yourself this Mother’s Day!

Single moms and mothers with younger children also benefit from the freedoms of being your own boss. The Shopify survey found that:

  • 22% of single women with children said they are “very interested” in starting a business, compared to 14% of married women with children. 
  • Women with younger children (5 years old or younger) are more likely to want to start their own business compared to women with older children.

Part of this has to do with access to affordable childcare. For many working women, childcare is a struggle. During the pandemic, many moms were forced out of the workforce to take on caregiving responsibilities at home. For those with younger children and single parents, childcare is an ongoing issue that prevents many women from focusing on their career goals. 

Entrepreneurship allows women to balance their work and home life, and provides them with the flexibility to be both moms and business owners. With technology and the normalization of remote-work, working from home has never been easier! 

You might be interested: Meet Rosie, the Latina entrepreneur amplifying diverse voices with “Life 100” Podcast

These days, almost any business can be a home-business. The pandemic exposed many issues in the workforce and how these issues affect working moms. For Black and Latina moms disproportionately affected by pandemic layoffs and unemployment, entrepreneurship is a new horizon of opportunity and freedom. 

To all the moms out there who have been thinking of starting their own business, the time is now! 

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Latina entrepreneur

Latina entrepreneur and leader Susana Marino shares key business tips for female founders

Susana Marino is the founder and current President of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NOVAHCC), an international business and trade association representing people of all entrepreneurial backgrounds and industries. 

In 2019, Susana Marino was awarded by El Tiempo Latino with Power 100 Meter as one out of 100 most influential Latinos in the region, and August 2020, she was selected to receive the Women Who Mean Business 2020 Award by Washington Business Journal. In addition, she is the national recipient of the Brillante  Award in Entrepreneurship Excellence 2020 by Prospanica. 

Susana Marino, President, and founder of NOVAHCC. (Photo courtesy Susana Marino)

As a first generation Latina and immigrant from Venezuela, Susana is committed to using her platforms to help elevate Latina entrepreneurs and business owners. In her role at NOVAHCC, Susana provides strategic direction for the programs and the Executive Advisory Committee for the chamber, NOVAHCC, delivering the oversight for all organizational operations supporting the growth and prosperity of large and small businesses in northern Virginia. 

Susana decided to launch the NOVAHCC in 2018 to improve the level of access to diversity supplier opportunities for Latinos, and other multi-ethnic businesses in Northern Virginia.  

“In 2017, I researched and discovered that there was not a chamber of commerce in place in the Northern Virginia region to represent the more than thirty-thousand Hispanic businesses.  The Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber was born to attend to the needs of growing the revenue and valuation of our business community,” said Susana. 

A strong pillar of NOVAHCC is to assist small business owners to scale-up their businesses, to make its members procurement ready to participate in the supplier chain ecosystem, and to provide strategic workforce development to people who are currently under-employed and to assist U.S. Veterans with career transition.  

Susana’s oldest son is a former Sgt. in the US Marine Corps, and she understands first hand the challenges our military can face when they transition to the private sector.  

“Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber is a hands-on Think Tank Business Solution Center that seeks to understand first-hand the many challenges our entrepreneurs face, and we strive to stay relevant providing solutions to those challenges with technical assistance, access to capital, relevant up to date training with specific revenue making models.

Susana Marino at the Blockchain Technology Forum, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Susana Marino)

The future of minority owned small businesses beyond the pandemic 

In Latinas in Business’ March 25 virtual panel, “Latinas & Success: What it takes to make it in America”, Susana spoke a bit about the future of small businesses since the pandemic. 

“The world is divided these days by regions, every region is doing things differently, some regions are doing better than others and because of this I always tell my members don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Meaning that, if you’re able to expand overseas, that’s an opportunity. The United States has a lot of grants and resources and funding to do so,” Susana said. 

Moving forward, one of the biggest advantages business owners will have during the rebuilding season is their ability to pivot and adapt, and also solidifying a niche to stand out among others.

“This is going to be a new skillset to win in 2022 and beyond. You must know what your uniqueness is. What is your niche? And what problem are you solving with your product, faster, better, and less expensive than your competitors. Ask yourself, what is your business doing that is impressive?” 

Watch the full panel below! 

Another plus that will help Latina entrepreneurs and minority business owners succeed is to lean into and utilize all the resources available to them. 

“The biggest plus of being a minority business owner is the ability and the great opportunity we have to apply to all the certifications applicable and available as a Minority business with the purpose of having a better shot in procurement transactions with the local and federal government, as well as the private sector,” said Susana. 

More from “Latinas & Success”: From backyard chef to restaurant owner, Chef Yala shares her entrepreneurial journey and rise to success

3 key business tips for aspiring Latina entrepreneurs 

“One of the positive outcomes of 2020 is that with the use of technology, we managed to stay connected, and at the Chamber we were able to reach many entrepreneurs beyond our state, region, and country. This is the time for wise decisions. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, and starting a business is tough, not just on the practical grind, but also financially and mentally. Building a business is grueling work, but also exciting, and inspirational, at the same time.” 

To other aspiring Latina entrepreneurs and minority business owners, Susana offers three key tips from lessons learned during the pandemic. 

  1. Finding your passion is not enough these days to keep you afloat. For this reason, finding and communicating your WHY is key. Otherwise, your business stops growing. 
  2. Don’t fall in love with your product, but instead strive every day to know your customer’s fears, desires, needs, and wants. In the process expect to get it wrong but learn and try again. It doesn’t have to be perfect. 
  3. Think long term but plan short term. 2020 taught us, one can have a futuristic vision, but make sure you always have a plan B revised. Ask yourself is there a void? and how can one fill it?

Learn more about the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and connect with Susana Marino on LinkedIn.