Each March, during Women’s History Month, we have a chance to reflect on and reevaluate our support for the women at work, in the community, and at home. This includes talented business owners, leaders, legislators, and coworkers. Not only that, this month is extra special as the Salt Lake Chamber’s Women’s Business Center of Utah (WBCUtah) celebrates 25 years in operation. This milestone marks many great achievements over the years and, in many cases, the momentum is increasing.
Some accomplishments from WBCUtah’s 2021-2022 Annual Report include:
- 195 New Business Starts and 748 Jobs Created
- 752 Clients Served and 1,900 Hours of Advising
- $15.4M in Capital Accessed with $54.7M in Total Revenue
- 200 Training Sessions, Webinars and Online Courses attended by 1,400 Utahns
In addition, during the 2023 Legislative Session, WBCUtah received a one-time appropriation to accelerate women-owned businesses by funding women-focused outreach and technical assistance for Utah women business owners.
The impact of these funds is estimated to be 240 new businesses created, 928 jobs created and $17.6 capital accessed for those who receive services, and a potentially exponential increase in access through the upcoming SSBCI federal lending program.
Despite this progress, women still face real challenges in the business world. For example, women-owned businesses receive only 2% of venture capital funding, which can make it difficult to scale and grow. Women can also face bias in the workplace that results in lower pay and fewer leadership opportunities.
Women’s History Month provides a chance to highlight the achievements of women in business and to push for greater gender equality. This month we can all refocus and reprioritize our responsibility to make Utah a place where women are elevated in pay, responsibility, and support.
So I encourage every business to evaluate how it treats women employees and customers. One thing you can do is recognize the contributions women make and highlight the achievements of women leaders in your organization. Another is to look for ways to partner with women-owned businesses in your community. I also hope you will promote gender equality in your workplace. This can take the form of promoting work-life balance, providing opportunities for career development, and addressing issues like the gender pay gap.
Throughout March, the Salt Lake Chamber will highlight women who are making a difference in Utah. You can visit the Chamber’s Women’s History Month webpage for upcoming events, feature stories, and ways to engage all month long.
By celebrating Women’s History Month, we can recognize the progress that women have made in the business world and push for greater gender equality every month and throughout the years ahead.