2020 was a tough year for many business owners. But as we’re finding out, it was particularly challenging for women entrepreneurs. A 2020 survey from the US Chamber of Commerce gives us some insight on this: Pre-pandemic, 67% of male-owned businesses and 60% of women-owned ones ranked the overall health of their business as “good.” By July 2020, 62% of male-owned small businesses said their businesses were “good,” but just 47% of female-owned businesses said the same. Women were also less likely to invest in their business and less likely to increase their staffing.
While many business owners sought out help from the government, Goldman Sachs also upped its support of women during such a difficult period. The firm expanded one of its global initiatives – the 10,000 Women program – which offers a practical business and management education, mentoring and networking opportunities, and access to capital. Goldman Sachs also debuted another initiative in March 2021, One Million Black Women, focused on expanding economic opportunities for Black women in the US. Here’s a look at how Goldman Sachs’ business initiatives are helping women at home and abroad.
What do you do when a global pandemic threatens your livelihood? Many business owners all over the world had to get creative to keep their businesses afloat or parlay their expertise to help their communities during a time of need. Alumni of the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women program made some business changes of their own in 2020. A few of these stories included:
Just like the entrepreneurs, Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women program also had to shift gears. In April 2020, the Goldman Sachs Foundation announced that it would make its online education course available for free to more women around the world.
The course also was made available in 10 discrete modules, allowing women to tailor their learning journey, and translated into two more languages, Spanish and Portuguese. These changes helped expand the program’s access to more women, to ensure that women small business owners have the support they need to thrive. A year on, we have seen tens of thousands of enrollments from women in over 200 countries.
“Goldman Sachs believes when women lead, everything changes,” said Asahi Pompey.
“Our 10,000 Women course helps small businesses manage their day-to-day and plan for what’s ahead, while sharing best practices with other women entrepreneurs,” Charlotte Keenan, global head of 10,000 Women at Goldman Sachs, said at the time.
The 10,000 Women program is just one way that Goldman Sachs supports underserved communities. In March 2021, the firm launched One Million Black Women, an initiative to invest $10 billion and commit $100 million in philanthropic capital for grants over the next decade to narrow opportunity gaps for at least one million Black women in the US.
Why focus on Black women? There are a number of reasons, including:
The One Million Black Women program is meant to close some of the gaps that have been deeply rooted in society for years, David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, said on a recent episode of Exchanges at Goldman Sachs. “We are trying to find ways to use our resources to make sure we are expanding sustainable economic growth in the communities that we operate in,” he said. “By the way, that’s good for all of us. That’s good for the world.”
What’s the benefit of investing in women entrepreneurs, locally and globally? Goldman Sachs launched 10,000 Women in 2008 with the goal of fostering economic growth and building stronger communities. Since then, the network has reached over a hundred thousand women, and it’s also had the following ripple effect:
“Goldman Sachs believes when women lead, everything changes,” said Asahi Pompey, global head of corporate engagement and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. “In today’s world, gender equality is an economic imperative and supporting women’s economic empowerment and leadership opportunities will drive growth for our clients, our communities, our people, and our stakeholders.”
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