Goldman Sachs on Women and the Pandemic

25th August 2021

In mid-June, Goldman Sachs released a report entitled: Womenomics: COVID-19’s Impact on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses Alumni. There are some interesting learnings worth revisiting and access to free courses to help businesswomen through these challenging times.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women (10KW) is a global initiative that fosters economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital. In addition, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) is a program that specifically helps entrepreneurs in the US and UK create jobs and economic opportunity by providing access to education, capital and business support services.

Putting ‘Womenomics’ in Context

“Womenomics” refers to the significant impact and contribution that women make to an economy, and women entrepreneurs are a powerful piece of the puzzle.  According to the World Bank, there are more than 12 million women-owned firms in the US that contributed nearly $3 trillion annually to the economy. In developing countries, women’s entrepreneurship is rising and there are roughly 10 million small-and medium-sized enterprises with at least one woman owner(1). Women have successfully been driving commercial outcomes, but gender barriers in entrepreneurship still exist. Globally, only 1 in 3 businesses are owned by women(2). And according to the OECD, 5.3% of women are involved in business creation, compared to 7.9% of men(3)

With less representation, role models, and natural networks, only 43.4% of women report their capability to start a new business, a confidence gap of 12.2% relative to men(4).

According to Goldman Sachs report: Womenomics: COVID-19’s Impact on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses Alumni,

Regardless of Region or Industry, our Alumni Experienced Challenges

Nearly all respondents (97%) have experienced difficulty in running their businesses. The foremost challenge, according to respondents, was overwhelmingly financial.









Women have Borne the Brunt of the Bust

Women entrepreneurs are overrepresented in the industries most adversely impacted by COVID-19 – namely the recreation, services, and trade industries.














COVID-19 Compounded Existing Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs

Alumni cited family/personal matters (45%), difficulty accessing finance (44%) and gender bias or societal attitudes as challenges to running their businesses irrespective of the pandemic.









Other Observations

In response to COVID-19, 70% of alumni pivoted or changed their business model in ways that many expect will be permanent. Greater digital adoption was a major trend, and 70% reported that the shift in digital solutions and working patterns during the pandemic has made leading a business easier or more accessible as women entrepreneurs.

  • Despite the challenges, 78% remained optimistic in their future business prospects.

The majority of respondents felt that the pandemic did not meaningfully alter their business outlooks, neither in performance nor in their abilities to lead. About 86% of respondents said they were still doing business, and 81% reported that the 10KW and 10KSB programs had been useful for adapting to COVID-19 and positioning for future growth.

Just as important, Goldman Sachs found that confidence deteriorated for 34% of the graduates relative to pre-pandemic levels, a potentially concerning shift especially with respect to growth potential.

The global focus on environmental, social, and governance issues is a priority for smaller businesses. About 78% cited the importance of having a “purpose beyond profit.” Still, COVID-19 introduced uncertainty around community involvement of business.

The evidence from the COVID-19 experience is clear:

Women are resilient and are great business leaders. But in order for them to thrive, we must not let the pandemic undo decades of progress towards economic gender equity.

Empowering women is no longer an option, it is an economic and business imperative.

At Goldman Sachs, they believe that when women do better, we all do better.

Ongoing Support For Women Entrepreneurs

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is a free online program providing women entrepreneurs around the world with:

•a business and management education •mentoring and networking opportunities •live webinars with business experts •peer-to-peer support •a shareable 10,000 Women certificate (criteria apply)

You can find out more here>>

References: (1)World Bank: Female Entrepreneurship Resource Point -Introduction and Module 1: Why Gender Matters (2)World Bank: Women Entrepreneurs Needed -Stat (3)Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: The Missing Entrepreneurs 2019 Policies for inclusive entrepreneurship (4)Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: 2018/2019 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report