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Tuesday, Mar 5, 2024

Women Weathering the Storm

Women-owned businesses, and the organizations that represent them, have faced COVID-19 with strength, resilience and a determination to rebuild. But there is still a need for government grants and loans, according to a poll conducted by the National Association of Women Business Owners. “Simply put, women business owners are trying to keep balance,” said Christina Morales Heaney, board chairwoman at NAWBO. Heaney told the Business Journal that 72 percent of survey respondents have not had to lay off or furlough workers. But, of those that have decreased staff, many have not brought anyone back yet, the NAWBO chairwoman said. Twenty percent of the organization’s respondents said their business has three months or less to survive. It varies by industry, of course, with those in the hospitality and restaurant industries hit the hardest. NAWBO member Madelyn Alfano, owner of Maria’s Italian Kitchen in Van Nuys, No. 6 on the Business Journal’s list of Women-Owned Businesses, has had to cut 48 percent of her 400-plus employees as a result of the pandemic. And that’s with 35 years of experience in the industry. “As we continue to rebuild, the most significant segment of respondents is not sure what will happen to their business revenue, but some are optimistic that it will go up in the months ahead,” added Heaney of the current economic climate. “Regardless, there is so much uncertainty that it leaves many business owners concerned.” Other challenges faced by women business owners, Heaney said, include increasingly unaffordable health care costs for small businesses as premium rates and prescription drug costs rise, and the continued struggle to access capital. “As the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and (Emergency Economic Injury) grant programs illustrated, the proportion by which women and minority business owners received funding underscores their barriers to entry,” explained Heaney. “We must continue to work to ensure that women business owners can receive the capital they need to grow their businesses.” Other women business owners in the Valley, spanning multiple industries, have weathered the pandemic. To highlight the diversity of industrial sectors where women are leading companies, the following pages feature profiles of Canon Recruiting Group in Santa Clarita, Wagner Engineering & Survey in Northridge and Andrews & Van Lohn Insurance in Granada Hills. They appear on the Business Journal’s annual list of Women-Owned Businesses, ranking No. 10, No. 19 and No. 24, respectively.

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