International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women-Led Organizations

Women play an essential role in American commerce and business. Today, women-owned enterprises represent nearly a quarter of all businesses in the U.S.  

This trend toward entrepreneurship accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s when women were increasingly working outside the home. The number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. increased 31 years out of 46 between 1972 and 2018, growing from 402,000 to 12.3 million. 

We celebrate all women entrepreneurs – nearly 10 million strong – who have taken up the challenge of small business ownership. CRF has been fortunate to work with more than 1,200 women-owned businesses in its 30-year history.  

Here are just two of the woman-powered enterprises that have worked with CRF to access much-needed capital for growth.

Anissa Keyes – Arubah Emotional Health Services

Mental health services can be scarce in communities of color, and Arubah Emotional Health Services represents one of just a few clinics in Minneapolis serving this predominantly Black neighborhood. Using its SBA lending expertise and its digital loan application tools, CRF helped connect owner Anissa Keyes with an SBA 7(a) small business loan in 2018 and a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in 2020. Today, Arubah is a well-staffed and accessible resource for those in the community – including many women, immigrants and people of color – to connect with the mental health resources they need. 

Mary Uran – Girls on the Run Twin Cities

Since 2011, Girls on the Run Twin Cities has been inspiring girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind. Through social and emotional life-skill building, running activities and dynamic discussions, Girls on the Run Twin Cities helps girls and grow up to be brave leaders in the future. When the organization needed to cancel its 2020 program season, executive director and co-founder Mary Uran wondered whether the future of Girls on the Run Twin Cities could be in jeopardy. But with help from CRF, Girls on the Run Twin Cities obtained a PPP loan to help the organization keep its employees and transition its programming to a virtual environment.

Women-owned businesses employed 9.4 million workers at a total annual payroll of $318 billion in 2020. On International Women’s Day 2021, we share our pledge to help many more women entrepreneurs to break barriers while bolstering our national economy.

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