Reflections on Global Entrepreneurship Month

November is National Entrepreneurship Month.

With all the other headlines this past month—like, say, the first WOMAN OF COLOR heading to the White House!—entrepreneurship month may have been overlooked. But entrepreneurship—female entrepreneurship, specifically—is our jam. We know that uplifting women to earn and perform to their highest potential is not only exciting, but that it can change the world.

We also think that in many ways, even or especially after this devastating year, we are more primed than ever to make this vision a reality.

 The state of today. A good time to start a business?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans are starting new businesses at the fastest rate in more than a decade. Black-owned businesses, which were hit especially hard by the pandemic, are also making a comeback—up to about 1.1 million nationwide, a 2% increase since February. Many factors—including new market opportunities presented by the pandemic and the need to pay the bills after job loss—are inspiring a new wave of entrepreneurs.

Good news, at last!

The upheaval of this year has also had a clarifying effect for many Americans. Many of us are taking inventory of what matters in our lives, and shifting buying behaviors accordingly.  59% of millennial women, who are entering their prime spending years, consider a company’s values and stance on social issues when making purchasing decisions.

Our own story: Working for gender equity in a pandemic.

TheWMarketplace is one of these stories, a business born during and from the pandemic.

A passion (for gender equity) met a need (women disproportionately impacted by the pandemic) met an opportunity (our own job losses, plus the privilege of devoting our time and energy to a start-up while keeping food on the table) and there was no looking back.

We have been humbled and inspired building this community over the past several months. We’ve learned much, made some mistakes, and had so many exciting wins.

Our day-to-day work, fed by this community, has crystalized into a simple model. It’s what works for us, which means it’s what the women we serve have asked for.

Sure, we’re tooting our own horn a little bit (we could all stand to do more of that, frankly). But it’s all in the name of the vision, what we’re celebrating in November and well beyond: women supporting women to thrive in work and life.

  1. Partnership and collaboration

    We know we can’t do this alone.

    We have developed a partnership with the Washington Center for Women in Business (WCWB) here in our home state. The WCWB is creatively using funds received through the Paycheck Protection Program to help their clients, many of whom have never sold their goods or services online, with graphic design and other onboarding support to get started on our platform.

    This relationship is a model for partnerships we are creating with organizations across the country, all aimed at putting more money in the pockets of more women, no matter what they do or whey they live.
  1. Transparency

    Our business model is this: we make money only if our sellers make money, with no complicated pricing structures, hidden fees, or surprise rate hikes. No reading between the lines.

    It seems just like good business, and good human sense.

    Consumers and merchants have asked for an alternative to top-down, profits-over-people, and frankly outdated business models. We’re listening. We’re working. It’s time.
  1. Inclusivity

    At TheWMarketplace, community IS our business. We work for you. If we don’t see you, listen to you, and meet you where you are, none of this works.

    To that end, we’re holding monthly Zoom calls with new and prospective members to hear what they want and need. We are highlighting member stories on the Her Story section of our site so we can learn from, champion, and inspire each other. We are also proud to highlight the Black Owned businesses on our site and are listening to customers and sellers about more communities they want to see featured. This has been a priority from day one.  

We are the Economic Engine for all women, born of a pandemic, and committed to changing the world. 

Reflections on Global Entrepreneurship Month