Opinion: Women entrepreneurs still can’t access financing

Thirty-three years ago, I couldn’t get a credit card despite working for the very bank that declined my credit card application. As an immigrant and a recent graduate, I didn’t have a credit history. It felt like a Catch-22. How could I get credit if I didn’t have credit?

I have never forgotten that experience. As a woman and an entrepreneur, I know all too well how often women hear “no” when seeking financing for their businesses.

Just 30 years ago, a woman couldn’t get a loan for her own business without a male relative co-signing. But in 1988, we stood up as a nation and said a woman could get a loan without her husband, her brother or her father co-signing for it. October marked the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act that ended that practice. In the intervening decades, we’ve made great strides in lending to women, but we still have a long way to go.

Female entrepreneurs only access 4 percent of the total loans provided by banks  –  despite being more entrepreneurial than most men. Today, women are starting businesses at rates three times faster than men, but they have a much harder time getting a loan to do so. It’s even harder for immigrant women and women of color.

So why aren’t the dollars flowing? We know that when we invest in women’s businesses, they grow, create jobs and drive economic activity. When we back female entrepreneurs, those women lead their families and communities toward prosperity.

Brenda Buenviaje, the owner of Brenda’s French Soul Food in San Francisco, is an excellent example of what can happen when you believe in women. When she was trying to open her first restaurant in 2007, she was turned down by one bank after another. It wasn’t until Opportunity …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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