Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Meet Julie Castro-Abrams

Monday, May 28, 2007

Putting Coupons to Work for Your Business

Coupons may seem like a risky endeavor for an entrepreneur but there are great benefits to be considered and certain approaches that will make your promotions more successful. Here are a few things to think about when deciding if coupons will work for you:

Friday, May 25, 2007

Living Your Brand

Successfully branding your business means that when people think of you, an image of strength and stability comes to mind. Big businesses often focus a lot of energy on branding, but as a business owner you can do things to enhance your brand for a bigger payoff. For those of you who didn’t attend the Build Your Brand SuccessLink event, here are some steps and key points to building your brand:

Friday, May 18, 2007


Hello, World! Welcome to our blog!

If you’re reading this—and you are—chances are that you do not come from a low-income community. Digital access, and the time to read and write blogs, tends to belong to those with higher incomes, or a stake in the new economy of the internet. Often, the digital divide separates us even more from the poorest of our neighbors. From our wired, new-millenium perspective, the cycles of poverty we see at home and abroad may seem like impossible problems.

But they’re not.

For the past thirty years, a growing number of organizations worldwide have been experimenting with microlending and microenterprise, a strategy of addressing poverty by making small loans and business training available to the very poor to help them start their own businesses. These businesses grow to the size needed to make the entrepreneur—and her family—self-sufficient, thus plucking them out of the cycle of poverty.

Recent interest in microenterprise may have made this strategy seem like a magic bullet. It’s not magic, but it is effective. And Women’s Initiative is one of the organizations at the forefront of the international microenterprise movement.

We focus on training low-income San Francisco Bay-Area women to run their own businesses. Then we give them many types of support, including loans, training, mentoring and access to new clients. On average, graduates of our training program increase their annual income by $10,000 within 18 months of leaving our program.

So … what does this program look like from the inside? What do the women who take our training think? How does it affect them? Does it really work for them?

And what does this look like from the inside of our organization? How do we come up with our ideas? What do we do when our ideas don’t work? What do we do when they do work, but nobody will listen to us? What do we talk about amongst ourselves?

We’ve created this blog to answer questions and fill in the blanks. You’ll hear from some of our program graduates, who are out on the front lines of economic independence, taking the courageous step of controlling their own futures. They’ll tell you what it’s really like trying to make it in an economic landscape designed to take advantage of the poor.

You’ll also hear from leaders in our organization, people who are experts in business training for low-income women, public policy, and international microenterprise. They’ll tell you how we’re doing, what we know, what we don’t know, and what we’re finding out.

Please talk back in the comments section of each post. We can’t wait to hear from you! Welcome to our blog!

Meet Quela Mikell

 This Blog is directed to anyone thinking of starting a business with little or no resources.

Hi my name is Quela Mikell and I am the owner of a retail business called Royal Jewelz Designs. I came up with this name because I love what I do, designing clothes. And when a client works with me I have gift of making that person feel they are my only client.
It is my goal from the beginning to create a garment so special, it will be my client's favorite piece of clothing. Also being skilled at what I do helps a lot too. So that's my motvation for doing what I do.

Now I have several questions for you Mr. or Ms. blog reader. What are you skilled at? What do you love to do? What is your dream business?

This is my story in short form. I always dreamed of having a business of my own, however did not believe little ole inadequate me, who always lived under the poverty line, could do it. Who would listen to me? Or take me serious?

Nonetheless I made a promise to myself to start and not give up midstream just because things get rough. Starting with no money--yes I said NO Money--and very little business skills, now here 5 years later I am at 80%--only 20% away from reaching my dream.

You might think is that all you done in all that time ? I'm proud to say yes because remember this is the short version. Sorry, you may have to wait for the book to get the whole story.
In the meantime some thoughts to ponder over. Thinking about what kind of business you should go in is like dating. Use your imagination, see your self doing the business. Then see what it is you like about it. DO you love what you're doing ? Are you passionate about the choice you have made? What can YOU do to make the business stand out from others that are doing the same business? And above all are you skilled and or knowledgeable about your business? Being resourceful does help however, you can and will learn to be if you intend to stay in business. That's just part of the relationship.

If you have these major components in place then jump in, get married, because it is just that strong of a commitment. Give it your all because there is nothing like having your own. Living well on the income you made for yourself and your family, contributing to the community and God love 'em paying taxes!

That's all for now. Talk to you soon.



Meet Karuna Jaggar

Hi. I’m Karuna Jaggar and I lead and coordinate the research and public policy activities at Women’s Initiative.