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San Diego ranked No. 1 in women-owned micro-business starts over the past year

SAN DIEGO — The pandemic has taken a toll on small businesses nationwide, but a new study shows there has also been a rise in entrepreneurship and micro-businesses.

What You Need To Know

  • A new study shows women are responsible for over half of new micro-business starts since the onset of the pandemic

  • It shows women were far more likely to engage in retail start-ups

  • The study also shows an increase in Black and Hispanic women-owned micro-business starts since the pandemic began

  • Micro-businesses provide a significant source of additional income

Libby Lefanowicz is the taste buds behind Kula Ice Cream, San Diego’s first and only completely gluten-free and vegan ice cream company.

Unlike many other dairy-free options, her dessert actually tastes like real ice cream. She uses the same amount of sugar, protein, fat, water and air as other premium ice creams, but with vegan ingredients.

“There’s such a stigma towards vegan ice cream because for so many years, the only vegan ice cream you could get tasted like crap,” Lefanowicz said. “One of the really special things about our ice cream is that we use olive oil as our fat and so it gives it that mouthfeel like you’re eating dairy without the dairy. And then we use really high-quality nuts and seeds as the protein.”

She started Kula during the pandemic, growing from online orders, to farmers markets, to opening her own shop and selling to grocery stores across Southern California.

“We were selling a couple thousand dollar’s worth of ice cream every week and delivering it door to door just in the San Diego area,” Lefanowicz said.

Council member Chris Cate has been supporting Lefanowicz since her grand opening. He believes she is filling a need in the community.

“Promoting women in the workplace, in the business realm, that’s a voice that hasn’t been there in the past, and I think for us as a city, I think we’re embracing that diversity of ideas and promoting women-owned businesses falls in line with that,” Cate said.

He hopes between the new data and Lefanowicz’s example that more entrepreneurs follow her lead.

“I think those who were looking for opportunity said, ‘Why not? Maybe this is the best time,’” Cate said.

Read the full article here.

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