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The Vermont Women’s Fund Launches Goal to Identify 10,000 Women-Owned Businesses in Vermont by End of 2022

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Today, the Vermont Women’s Fund announces a year-end goal to sign-up 10,000 women-owned businesses through its new initiative, This Way UP: there’s power in our numbers. This Way UP was launched in late 2021 to build a statewide database of women business owners and entrepreneurs—information that does not currently exist in Vermont.

“We were surprised in 2016 when we discovered that no one knew the breakdown of business ownership by gender,” says Meg Smith, director of the Vermont Women’s Fund. “But its importance hit home two years ago when PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) money came into the state earmarked for women and minority-owned businesses and there was no way to find them.”  

This Way UP: there’s power in our numbers was developed to fill this gap by mobilizing women business owners to take a short survey on its website, thiswayupvt.com, and be counted. The survey results from This Way UP are aggregated in real-time so the information (displayed under the “Today’s Numbers” heading) is always current.

Data from the nearly 700 women entrepreneurs surveyed to date show that these women-led businesses contributed over $361M in revenue to Vermont’s economy while generating 1,755 full-time and part-time jobs. Responses to questions about funding, growth, challenges, and successes are also a part of the survey. Findings from This Way UP are reported out weekly via social media and news alerts.

“These first numbers are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Smith. “Women have been the backbone of Vermont’s economy for years but many of these enterprises do not keep up with their male counterparts when it comes to growth and revenues. It’s time to find out why.”

This Way UP’s goal of 10,000 signers by year’s end includes every woman who generates an income on their own, whether they run a business with many employees to a solo entrepreneur or, “…a woman with a side hustle to bring in a little extra cash. Everyone counts,” adds Smith.

“We believe,” Smith concludes, “that women entrepreneurs are an untapped resource in our state for economic growth and advancement, but if we don’t know who they are, how can we assist them? The very first step is to identify them. There is power in these numbers.”

To learn about This Way UP and view the current data report, visit thiswayupvt.com.