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!

1 comment:

BabyWhisperingLoudly said...

Wow. This looks extremely interesting. What a wonderful collaboration. I will be checking back often.

Original Post: June 21, 2007 at 10:23 AM