The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center Shares Findings of Study on Pay, Ownership & Valuation Issues Affecting Women Entrepreneurs

  • young businesswoman sitting and working on her laptop in a coffee shop during the day

Findings Show That Early-Stage Women Entrepreneurs Are Knowledgeable About Fair Pay Practices,
But Have Resource Challenges Practicing Them

SAN FRANCISCO, March 10, 2022 — The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, a non-profit committed to growing inclusion and access for entrepreneurs worldwide, in partnership with Fair Pay Workplace, Penn State’s Evidence to Impact Collaborative, with support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, today announced findings from a study looking at pay, ownership and valuation issues affecting women entrepreneurs.

The study included a series of focus groups with emerging women entrepreneurs to inform a quantitative survey of 150 early-stage women entrepreneur respondents. The clear theme that emerged from the study was that many of the top obstacles for early-stage women entrepreneurs relate to merging their personal lives and business lives – health care, child-care, personal debt versus business debt and getting access to business information. In service to the study’s findings, a fair wage toolkit is available here to help small business owners take steps to paying themselves a fair wage.

Some of the study’s top findings include:

55% of the early-stage women entrepreneurs surveyed do not pay themselves for work they do for their company. The top-three reasons women entrepreneurs don’t seek additional funding are as follows:

  • Don’t want to accrue debt (23%)
  • Don’t think they’d be approved by a lender
  • Decided to wait until their company hit a milestone to be in a stronger position to raise funds

Access to capital is the #1 barrier negatively impacting the profitability of women entrepreneurs’ companies. #2 is declining sales, #3 is the unpredictability of business conditions.

  • 59% of women entrepreneur respondents said their income varies from month to month, and 53% said they’re spending equal to or more than their income

One third (34%) of women entrepreneur respondents do not have a three-month emergency fund for their expenses

  • Women entrepreneurs are twice as likely to have faced food insecurity
  • 21% of women entrepreneurs said they’ve faced food insecurity versus 10.5% in the US according to the USDA

Eight years into a business is a key turning point for women entrepreneurs

  • Women entrepreneurs were more likely to pay themselves if their companies were eight years or older
  • Women entrepreneurs were more likely to pay themselves if their companies had seed, and/or series A, B, or C funding

The best way to close the pay gap is to have more women-led businesses because they’ll compensate their employees fairly

  • Women, particularly women entrepreneurs of color, are leading the way in fair pay best practices

“This study shows us that women entrepreneurs have high levels of knowledge about fair pay, but that the actual practice is not within reach due to challenges in funding and access to quality information,” said Nicola Corzine, Executive Director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. “It is clear that once we remove pervasive barriers, women entrepreneurs will organically become change agents for fair pay.”

“This work around women entrepreneurs is so important, and not just because women entrepreneurs will bring innovation and economic impact, but because they will make our communities stronger and help lead the way for pay equity for the next generation,” said Jenny Flores, Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo.

About Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center:
The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is a non-profit committed to growing inclusion and access for entrepreneurs worldwide. The Center meets the real time needs of entrepreneurs through educational programming and then shares its learnings with policy-leaders, capital allocators and academic institutions. Established with the support of the Nasdaq Educational Foundation, the Center has been a resource for more than 50,000 entrepreneurs since its inception in 2014, a majority of whom come from underrepresented audiences. For more information please visit:

Media Contact:
Extension PR

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