Unlocking Female Potential: Opening Doors for Women Entrepreneurs

Duration: 2020 - 2021
Funding: Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center
Principal Investigator: Meg Small

businesswoman in front of building


Fair compensation strikes at the heart of human dignity. Aside from material benefits, equal compensation signals that women's ideas and time are valued as much as men's. Lacking meaningful intervention, the wage gap is expected to persist for the next 200 years. Female business owners are vital to entrepreneurial growth: they control resources, are doers, and are credible change agents. They have the power to establish equitable compensation structures within their organizations, stimulate local economies, increase GDP, and, most importantly, inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs. 

Since 1972, the number of women-owned businesses has increased 3,000%, yet access to resources has not. This matter is compounded for black business owners during the pandemic who are turned down for loans at a rate twice that of white business owners. With policy makers under extreme pressure to help our country recover from a $2.8 trillion economic deficit and growing, focusing on our women entrepreneurs who own 13 million businesses with revenues of $1.9 trillion, is critical to our economic recovery and justice. 

This collaboration engages three organizations with significant entrepreneurial experience and proven infrastructures: The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center (NEC), Fair Pay Workplace (FPW) and Penn State's Evidence-to-Impact-Collaborative (EIC). By December 2021 we aim to reach 15% of majority women-owned small businesses. Activities will focus on discovering actionable content and curriculum while laying critical infrastructure and foundation to drive:

    1. individual transformation for female entrepreneurs through training, benchmarking and certifications;
    2. relational change for employees, and collection of critical data and relationship infrastructures; and
    3. structural change across society.

    Simultaneously, we'll build data infrastructure and key stakeholder relationships to elevate new predictors and/or barriers to women entrepreneur's success.

    Project Team