The city has launched a new initiative to help women entrepreneurs.
The Department of Small Business Services, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Squarespace and Fundation announced a public-private partnership to provide approximately $5 million to the new program, WE Fund Credit, which will provide New York City women-owned businesses with lines of credit up to $10,000 at favorable interest rates, including those businesses with limited credit history, and a path to improve their credit scores.
“Women entrepreneurs face gendered barriers to financing that prevent them from starting and growing businesses that support our local economy and uplift our communities,” Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop said. “With WE Fund Credit, we’re breaking down these barriers by offering affordable credit options to women entrepreneurs across the five boroughs.”
This investment is accompanied by an over $1 million loan loss reserve fund provided by Squarespace, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and the NYCEDC. Credit solutions provider Fundation is providing the platform through which women entrepreneurs can access and manage lines of credit. The Goldman Sachs Foundation plans to provide a $300,000 grant to support technical assistance and outreach for the program.
“Despite the incredible growth, female entrepreneurs are still far from reaching gender parity,” Councilwoman Adrienne Adams said. “Access to capital is a major issue which can present a significant barrier as female entrepreneurs continue to play catch-up to their male counterparts. I applaud Small Business Services for responding to the needs of women-owned businesses by supporting the WE Fund Credit program.”
Eligible applicants must be in business for a minimum of one year, have at least $50,000 in annual revenue, and have FICO scores of at least 620. Interested women can visit we.nyc to learn more and apply.
According to the city’s Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs report, 70 percent of women entrepreneurs cited access to capital as a major challenge when starting and growing their companies. Many entrepreneurs rely on personal credit cards and payday lenders, which lend at interest rates that are more than 30 percent.
“No one should be denied the chance to further their success in business due to their gender,” Squarespace Senior Marketing Manager Anna Stalling said. “Our mission at Squarespace is to empower anyone with a creative idea to succeed. WE Fund Credit is leveling the playing field for women-identifying entrepreneurs to build businesses that shape our local communities, provide jobs and contribute to our hometown economy.”