Study finds West Virginia among worst states for women-led businesses

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — The latest U.S. jobs report shows some 140,000 jobs cut last month were held by women.

Adding to that a new study ranks West Virginia among the worst states for women-led businesses.

According to a recent study by Merchant Maverick, West Virginia ranked 48th in the nation when it comes to women-led businesses.

Jared Beilby with Merchant Maverick explained that it comes down to capital venture and other loans that are difficult for women-led businesses to obtain.

“I mean even looking at the past year with the stimulus program that was used to help, the PPP that was used to give money to small businesses, women-led businesses were an underserved community in that lenders aren’t just as confident in giving money to women,” he said.

For almost three years, Kristal Reeves has been educating customers about CBD products at her shop in South Charleston, The Purple Leaf.

Reeves used her background in corporate retail to establish her small- business.

“I feel it was the right time for this type of business to open up,” she said.

Entrepreneurial women like Reeves are rare in the Mountain State and she explained that it’s not surprising.

“The fact is that West Virginia is low in a lot of different areas so I’m not surprised,” she said.

She explained that she had to obtain a personal loan, as most banks already didn’t want to deal with a cannabis-based business.

As many women lose jobs because of the pandemic, or leave the workforce altogether to help their children with e-learning, Reeves explained she’ll be sticking it out and leaning on her other entrepreneurial friends.

“The small businesses in this area are predominantly men, so there’s us few that stick together,” said Reeves.

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