Blazing New Trails: Experiences of Women Entrepreneurs in 2020–2021
Meier, Sarah N.
This capstone project is an inquiry into the experience of being a woman business founder during 2020 and 2021. The project originated from the founder and CEO of Wild Rye, who sought to learn more about how other women entrepreneurs in her network responded to many common challenges. To address this issue, we investigated the specific challenges other women business founders in her network experienced and how they responded to these challenges by administering a survey to women business founders who are affiliated with the Tory Burch Foundation Fellowship or with the Title Nine organization, and by interviewing eleven women business founders in these groups. Results show that their common challenges include difficulty obtaining financing, experiencing a steep learning curve, changing business practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and maintaining physical and mental well-being. Women business founders responded to these challenges by building a support network, engaging in self-care, implementing work–life policies, and maintaining a positive outlook. Based on these findings and additional research, recommendations are offered to the Wild Rye CEO and others in her network, which include developing a professional network, scheduling time for self-care, championing work–life integration at their organizations, and establishing a regular mindfulness practice within a community.