Restaurant Opportunities and Small Business Loans for Women

Whether you qualify for small business loans for women, or simply employ women in key roles throughout your restaurant operation, one thing is for certain:

The future (of restaurants) is female (too).

In our brand new report, we look at the restaurant space in 2017 from the top down — and the increased role women are playing at every level — with special focus on:

Download this free eBook today for information you can use to make your restaurant a space where women employees can thrive and advance — and boost your bottom line revenue, as well.

Excerpt from Chapter 4:

In practice, 16 percent of conventional small business loans are awarded to women-owned businesses. This equates to women-owned businesses receiving only 4.4 percent of the total dollar value of all small business loans. Because 33 percent of businesses are majority-owned by women, that discrepancy can feel like a chasm to budding entrepreneurs.

Indeed, the U.S. government has recognized that it, too, has fallen short of reaching benchmarks instituted to help remediate these discrepancies. According to a 2014 report of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the government has never met its goal of awarding 5 percent of all federal contracts to women-owned businesses. This only adds to the urgent need for more widespread access to small business loans for women.

One avenue of progress could be achieved in passage of the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2015. Introduced to Congress by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), this legislation is designed to increase funding specifically for women entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal agency that guarantees loans for small businesses exclusively — and a leading guarantor of small business loans for women. While the Act could help ameliorate many of the obstacles faced by women-owned businesses in the small business loan market, this proposed legislation is in its infancy. It may never make its way through Congress and passage into law.

At the same time, access to small business loans in general continues to diminish. Since the financial crisis of 2008, there’s been a 20 percent decrease in the distribution of small business loans, while loans to larger business are up by about 4 percent. As a result, many restaurateurs may anticipate challenges in approaching banks to obtain conventional small business loans for women.

Dishema Fulton, owner of Baltimore Crab & Seafood and Pearl Lounge, knows firsthand what it’s like to face an uncertain experience with small business loans for women. “[Rewards Network] supported my business for the last eight years. When I first opened, it was very difficult to get financing through banks and traditional lending. And it really put me in a position where I was able to push forward.”

There’s a reason for that. Rewards Network specializes in restaurants and sees the potential in entrepreneurs who may expect to be turned away from lenders or other financial providers. Our restaurant clients run the gamut, some have been operating (and serving excellent food) for years. Others have been in business for as little as three months. Many of our women-owned restaurants may not have been able to access operating capital through other means, including specially-designated small business loans for women.

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