WOMENS INITIATIVE FOR SELF EMPLOYMENT Overview
Target demographics: low-income women
Direct beneficiaries per year: 3000+
Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Marin County, Contra Costa County, Napa/Marin Counties), New York and Chicago
Programs: Women's Initiative provides business assessment and entrepreneurial readiness workshops, comprehensive business management training, personal development training, one-on-one technical assistance, business plan writing workshops, peer support networking groups, and ongoing business support services. Scholarships and stipends for childcare and transportation are available for very low-income women to ensure that no one is turned away for lack of financial resources. Women's Initiative administers a revolving loan fund, disbursing loans ranging from $1,000 to $25,000, and links women with asset building opportunities, including Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) where participants' savings are matched.
Women's Initiative is unique among microenterprise development programs in that our services target low-income women, focusing on the needs of traditionally underserved groups including minorities, immigrants, and welfare recipients. A third of the women we serve have incomes at or below poverty, 12% are current or former welfare recipients, 80% are women of color, and over 30% speak Spanish as their first or only language. Services are provided in Spanish through our Alternativas para Latinas en Autosuficiencia (ALAS) program, the first program of its kind in Northern California.
We envision a future where women become the drivers of economic development and new job creation, and are leaders in their communities. We believe female entrepreneurs will help bring our country back to prosperity.
Our goal is that every woman will know that she has the power to build assets and achieve prosperity. No woman in the United States will face economic insecurity.
- Five years after training, 70% of Women's Initiative graduates are still in business.
- Women's Initiative graduates provide an average of 2.5 jobs through their businesses. In 2011, Women's Initiative graduates created and retained more than 5,500 jobs!