Lockdown during the pandemic really brought out the entrepreneurial spirit in some. Especially for women, about 4 in 10 new entrepreneurs in 2020 identified as women (U.S. Census Bureau). Despite women being one of the most impacted groups by the pandemic, and only heightened for BIPOC women (Stanford) - they proved to overcome with newfound success.
The Power of Female Entrepreneurship
Female-identifying entrepreneurs have a massive impact on the economy. Approximately 37% of all businesses in the United States identify as being woman-owned (NWBC). Yet, they need support along the way. "Empowering and supporting women-owned businesses is good for the economy and creating a diverse business community that fosters innovation," said Tonita Webb, Verity Credit Union CEO, "Owning a business is an avenue to creating generational wealth and long term stability. Partnering with people and organizations to create prosperity for all is part of our core philosophy."
The Washington Women's Business Center (WWBC) at Business Impact NW aims to support women in starting and growing their small businesses. Just in Washington State in 2020, the WWBC has served over 1,500 women and helped 86 businesses launch.
The Possibilities After a Pause
A new entrepreneur receiving support at the WWBC, is Gracie Santos. The pandemic presented itself as an opportunity for her. As a Filipina-American foodie, she used her joy of baking to raise funds for social issues she cared for. This is where Grayseas Pies was born.
Gracie started baking in 2020 as a hobby. Just a few months in, she was selling out at pop-up shops. From sweet to savory, her pies come in rotating flavors with creative recipes. Flavors like Filipinx-inspired pandan or calamansi - to elote-flavored and Girl Scout cookie-flavored pies.
Small Pies, Big Impact
Grayseas Pies is a small business with a big impact. Alongside making a profit from her passion, they donate a percentage of sales to a rotating list of nonprofits. She describes her business as "a way to personally connect with friends - old and new - one pie at a time."
Now, Gracie will receive dedicated support at Business Impact NW as she continues to grow her business. She noted, "Word of mouth and production with integrity has led to my current success. I aim to learn as much as I can from the [WWBC] to continue with optimal growth."
One opportunity she jumped into is participating in the annual Celebrating Dreams Showcase. This month-long opportunity allows her business to be seen by hundreds of site visitors looking to support local women-owned businesses specifically. Additionally, she will be at the in-person showcase offering samples of her pies at the upcoming Celebrating Dreams event on May 26th, 2022 from 6:00 - 8:00PM at Metropolist in Seattle (Get Tickets Here).
Celebrating Dreams is back in-person for the first time since 2019. The event will highlight women-owned businesses that harnessed 'the power of pause and its possibilities during the pandemic'. Join us to celebrate incredible women-owned businesses just like Grayseas Pies.
Celebrating Dreams 2022 Presenting Sponsor
About the author
Osmir "Oz" Díaz is the Communications Manager at Business Impact NW,
dedicated to amplifying the work of diverse entrepreneurs online and offline.
Oz holds a variety of skills in digital marketing that she applies to her work for racial equity and social justice in the digital landscape.