Submitted by Principal Financial Group, Inc.
For more than two decades, Kimberly Evans has logged experience as an entrepreneur and small business owner. She’s owned a clothing store. She opened a call center.
But when it came to raising capital for her latest venture, Just Her Rideshare, the Charlotte, North Carolina, resident realized she had a knowledge gap. “I’ve built small businesses, but I never had to fundraise on that scale,” Evans says. “I knew I needed to find out how to execute that. I’m good at some things, but as a small business owner you can’t be good at everything.”
Evans found help in the form of a 3Rs grant—Recovery, Rebuild, Resilience—from 1863 Ventures. The organization, supported by Principal® Foundation, offers leadership training and market access for people of color and women entrepreneurs. For Evans, that translated into team building and financial insights. For her community—and thousands of other communities across the U.S. that support small businesses—the benefits of such programs spread far and wide.
Providing equitable support, all year long
Focused events like Small Business Saturday help drive attention to the 30 million-plus small businesses in the U.S. But research demonstrates support is needed not just on one day, but throughout the year, year after year. That’s particularly true for small businesses owned by people of color and women.
For example, new research from the Global Financial Inclusion Index strongly indicates there’s uneven access to financial security across gender and racial demographics. Women in the U.S. face more exclusion from the financial system than men, and access to financial products, tools, services, and advice proves more difficult for Black and Hispanic communities, the Index found.
What helps? Programs provided by organizations like 1863 Ventures.
Evans’ idea—to create a safe space for women seeking a rideshare—was inspired by a community tragedy, the murder of a college student who mistook another car for her Uber driver. Since Just Her Rideshare’s inception two years ago, Evans has weathered the amicable departure of a founding partner and plenty of “no’s” in funding requests. The 3Rs program resonated at the right time. “I see greatness in this idea, in the impact it may have, but there have been difficulties building a company of this magnitude,” Evans says. “I’ve gained so much benefit already.”
Small business solutions: Starting with policies and community
The number of women and people of color who own small businesses is increasing: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women employer businesses—those that employ others—have reached a total of 1.1 million, employing over 10 million workers. Approximately 18.7% of U.S. employer businesses are owned by people of color.
However, that growth doesn’t mitigate historic and continuing challenges. For example, Black people make up over 14% of the U.S. population, but only 2.3% of owners of employer firms. During the pandemic, 36% of Black business owners reported difficulties accessing credit, compared to just 29% of all survey participants.
Those disparities play out in overall individual financial security, too. Women, for example, face worse outcomes on every measure of financial health, and women of color even more so. Those were the findings of The Gender Gap in Financial Health report, funded by Principal Foundation and conducted by the Financial Health Network.
“If the problems are varied and systemic, the chasm can feel unbridgeable,” says Jo Christine Miles, director of Principal® community relations and Principal Foundation. “But it’s not. Policy changes, combined with focused, innovative, capacity-building programs, and expanded access to capital could help more small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs thrive.”
Small business owner Evans would agree.
“I wanted to build a community of women taking care of each other, but I’m also an entrepreneur. I wanted to build something good but leave a legacy, too,” she says. “If we have a small business network and the support of users and information that helps us build, entrepreneurs like me can get to the next level.”
Learn more about how Principal supports small businesses across the country at principal.com/businesses.
Just Her Rideshare, 1863 Ventures and American Express are not affiliates of any member company of the Principal Financial Group®.
Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc. ("Principal® Foundation") is a duly recognized 501(c)(3) entity focused on providing philanthropic support to programs that build financial security in the communities where Principal Financial Group, Inc. ("Principal") operates. While Principal Foundation receives funding from Principal, Principal Foundation is a distinct, independent, charitable entity. Principal Foundation does not practice any form of investment advisory services and is not authorized to do so.
© 2022 Principal Foundation.
Principal community relations supports the communities where affiliates of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392 operates. Insurance products and plan administrative services provided through Principal Life Insurance Company®, a member of the Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, IA 50392.
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Principal Financial Group® (Nasdaq: PFG) is a global financial company with 18,500 employees1 passionate about improving the wealth and well-being of people and businesses. In business for more than 140 years, we’re helping more than 51 million customers1 plan, protect, invest, and retire, while working to support the communities where we do business, and build a diverse, inclusive workforce. Principal® is proud to be recognized as one of America’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies2, a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and a Top 10 “Best Places to Work in Money Management3.” Learn more about Principal and our commitment to building a better future at principal.com.
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