the womens initiative
The Women's Initiative is a non-profit organization located in the Bay Area which provides job training, resources(think micro-lending) and on-going mentor support to lower income women to improve their quality of life and their pocket book. They do great work. La Cocina, a commercial kitchen space area in the Bay Area that provides many of its immigrant clients the ability to rent inexpensive space to grow their own food ideas came out of a feasibility study done by the Women's Initiative in 1999. It is probably the impetus behind La Marquetta where Hot Bread Kitchen is doing the exact same thing.
I have been talking with the Women's Initiative for a while now. WI is now taking the success that they have had in the Bay Area and bringing it to NYC. Years of successes and of course disappointments but they have fine tooled their business model and know exactly what it takes.
They help women who can't find jobs create their own. 70% of the women who come through their program are still in business 5 years later. That is an impressive statistic. The average household income increases almost by $13,000 after 12 months of training with The Womens Initiative. This shows a $30:1 ROI as women create businesses, pay taxes, employ others and come off public assistance. One year after training 90% of the WI women are employed or self-employed and after 5 years they provide an average of 2.5 jobs.
Last year, WI in the Bay Area trained more than 3000 low-income women who are now on they way to either launch their own businesses or be employed. Pretty damn impressive. The cost to WI to create these jobs is roughly $4000 per person. They have figured out how to mentor and train to success.
WI is bringing the model to NYC and I believe Chicago. If they can do it in the Bay Area, why not do it across the country. Changing the economies of lower-income women can essentially change a neighborhood while providing role models for the children at the same time.
I am very impressived with this group. Women run, women backed, women power.