The Vermont Women’s Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation has announced the release of a mid-year report for This Way UP: there’s power in our numbers, the initiative to count and identify women business owners in the state. The goal of This Way UP is to provide missing pieces of Vermont’s economic data, including the size and scope of women-owned businesses and what they need to succeed and grow.
“The Vermont Women’s Fund is committed to the economic success of women and girls in our state,” says Vermont Women’s Fund Director Meg Smith. “And while women have been in business for many years, there is no data on them, making them essentially invisible. How can we help a business grow if we don’t know who they are and where to find them?”
The release of This Way UP’s mid-year report gives a snapshot of what this database is compiling about women entrepreneurs in Vermont’s business sector.
To date, the 2,250 businesses that have been identified and counted (70 of whom are business leaders running companies and nonprofits):
• Generate $2.1 billion annually
• Create over 4,500 part-time and full-time jobs in our state
• Give back to charities and/or nonprofits equating to $28 million into our communities
When asked, “What life changes led them to start their business?” responses included:
• 22 percent lost employment and decided it was time to work for themselves
• 20 percent became a caregiver of children, parents, and/or relatives and needed the flexibility
• 17 percent had a mentor who helped them
• 14 percent had someone who offered to support them while starting
• 12 percent had no other work options and had to start a business
These are just two of the data points included in This Way UP’s mid-year report. A copy of the report can be accessed here: https://vermontcf.org/assets/VWF/TWU_MidYear_SML.pdf.
Smith continues “We have a goal to reach 10,000 businesses by the end of 2022, then we plan to work with a community of advisors to determine the best next steps—ranging from the creation of a micro-loan investment fund to organizing mentorship circles by industry. The range of possibilities grows as our numbers grow.”
This Way UP gathers data through a website and survey with questions about business funding, life experiences, and what businesses need for greater success. A noteworthy aspect of the tool is that the data is always current. Responses are aggregated in real-time, accessible under the ‘Today’s Numbers’ tab. To learn more, including how to register your business, visit thiswayupvt.com.
The Vermont Women’s Fund is the first and largest philanthropic resource in the state founded specifically to advance women and girls in Vermont. Founded in 1994, it is a component fund of the Vermont Community Foundation and awards annual grants to nonprofits around the state that serve women and girls with programs that promote economic self-sufficiency, career development and systems change. Learn more at vermontwomensfund.org.
The Vermont Community Foundation inspires giving and brings people and resources together to make a difference in Vermont. A family of hundreds of funds and foundations, we provide the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise that make it easy for the people who care about Vermont to find and fund the causes they love. We envision Vermont at its best—where everyone has the opportunity to build a bright, secure future. Visit vermontcf.org or call 802-388-3355 for more information.