On March 18, Unilever’s Caress brand and IFundWomen of Color hosted a four-hour virtual summit to discuss obstacles and opportunities of women of color entrepreneurs. Last year, Caress committed to a two year $1 million investment to support the organization’s goal of helping women of color raise capital and gain access to mentors.  Notably, Esi Eggleston Bracey, EVP & COO NA Beauty and Personal Care, Unilever, and Cyndi Ramirez, Founder & CEO, Chillhouse, led a fireside chat that reveled new research around the state of women of color [WOC] entrepreneurs, which was conducted by the two companies. Here, a summary of the key findings.

  • 7-in-10 WOC entrepreneurs experienced decreased yearly revenue due to COVID-19; of those impacted, the average decline was 46 percent.
  • 81 percent of WOC business owners surveyed did not receive emergency government assistance to support their business in 2020.
  • Less than 1-in-10 women relied on venture capital to raise money for their business. Instead, the majority are relying on grants (54 percent) and personal savings (49 percent).
  • 7-in-10 women surveyed said the increased support of WOC during COVID-19 was overwhelming in a good way. But 41 percent of those women said this created unexpected challenges for their businesses.
  • 70 percent of WOC entrepreneurs say that support from their peers is very important to their business.
  • 60 percent of WOC businesses owners expect revenues to improve in 2021, and of those who experienced a revenue decline, three-in-four expect a full recovery by Spring 2022.
  • Nearly one-in-four (23 percent) of WOC entrepreneurs say that staying inspired and creative was their greatest challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 95 percent strongly agree they feel most creative when they can feel centered and connected to themselves.