The improving economy is encouraging many women to start their own business. Entrepreneurs like Tory Burch are helping with programs that support the economic empowerment of other women entrepreneurs. There are nearly 9.1 million women-owned enterprises, employing nearly 7.9 million workers and generating over $1.4 trillion in revenues.
But women owned businesses are not able to grow at the same rate as male owned businesses. Businesses owned by men are three and a half times as likely to reach $1 million in annual revenues as are businesses owned by women. Investment is one struggle that women-owned businesses face. The number is still small but nearly 20% of angels in 2012 invested in women-led businesses.
Burch is one who is trying to change things. She began her own fashion house in 2004, and in ten short years, she has been listed as the 79th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. In 2009, Burch founded the Tory Burch Foundation, which supports the economic empowerment of women in the U.S. through small business loans, mentoring and entrepreneurial education. In 2014, the foundation launched Elizabeth Street Capital, an initiative with Bank of America, with an initial investment of $10 million in capital to provide women entrepreneurs with access to low cost loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities. The initiative is named for the location of the first Tory Burch boutique. The foundation also offers an entrepreneurial education program in collaboration with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and Babson College. Burch’s stores sell products whose proceeds support the Foundation’s work.
If that doesn’t make you want to buy a new pair of Tory Burch flats, I don’t know what does.