Despite the impact of the pandemic on small businesses the U.S. Small Business Administration helped an historic 90,000 women-owned businesses in fiscal year 2021


NEVN photography

Women owned business owner Jessica Folino in her boutique, Arie Layne in Goodyear Az.

Serena West, Reporter

Women start an estimated 1,200 new businesses every day—totaling 9.1 million women-owned businesses across the U.S. today.

These aren’t part-time, jobs—women-owned businesses account for $1.4 trillion in revenue and employ more than 7 million people.

Jessica Folino is not new to the business world, but recently opened her own women’s clothing boutique, Arie Layne, in February.

She doesn’t necessarily credit, nor elaborate about the pandemic, but she does believe that it gave many women an incentive into opening their own business.

“When COVID happened, everything had to go online. I think a lot of people realized that their little side hustle was something they could easily put online, and it could be lucrative, as far as income,” Folino said.

Another possible motivation for opening a business is the amount of grants and funding that small businesses receive.

Every year, millions of dollars are allocated for business grants, and many specifically for women.

Folino did not apply for grants or special funding, noting, “It’s a very, very long process.”

Still, the process of applying for government grants and loans for many women is worth the time and effort considering the banner year that small, women owned businesses had in the U.S. in fiscal year 2021.

While funding is often the biggest hurdle for many business owners—it’s not the only one. Folino pointed to a large yellow bucket and mop, describing the hard work and maintenance that goes into owning a business.

“Being a start-up small business, I have to be very mindful of budget and there’s a lot of things I have to do on my own—one being mopping. The extra stuff that come along with opening a business, it’s not all diamonds and shiny things—there’s a lot that goes into it.”

For those not deterred by the difficulties of owning a business, Folino has some advice.

“Don’t be afraid to take the risk. There’s a lot of resources and there’s a lot of support behind anything that somebody wants to do.  A business plan—have a plan in place. If you don’t have a framework for what you’re trying to accomplish, then you have no roadmap. Believe in yourself…just do it.”

According to Folino’s website, her boutique located in Goodyear Az. arrived out of her own motherhood, a background in retail and entrepreneurship as well as the desire to combine all in a place that offers fashion and community, but with women’s needs in mind.

The boutique, Arie Layne, was inspired by both the name of her late grandmother, her daughter and the street where she spent many years of her childhood