Thursday, September 23, 2010

Women’s Initiative Offers to Help Los Angeles Spend Stimulus Funds


Dear Los Angeles Public Works and Transportation Departments,
I was sorry to read in David Zahniser’s article in the Los Angeles Times (09/17/2010) that you have been struggling to spend the $111 million in stimulus funds you have been awarded and that you have so far only managed to create 55 jobs.
It must be very slow indeed to secure government approval of contracts. I understand that you plan to eventually create or retain 264 jobs when you get around to spending the funds.
I am very impressed to hear that you have decided to begin looking for ways to streamline the contracting process and that you hope to start seeing changes in six months.
Women’s Initiative for Self Employment has been struggling too. We have waiting lists of low-income women, most without employment, wanting to take our business plan training course so they can create jobs for themselves and others by starting a business, but we just don’t have enough funding to add more courses this year.
So, like your agency, we have just had to do the best we could. We don’t have nearly the budget that you do but we have managed to provide business training to more women than ever in this past year. In 2009, 1,195 women graduated from our business plan training course. Our data to date indicates that these women will likely create and retain 1,123 jobs for themselves and others by the end of this year at an average cost of just over $4K per job.
I know this is nothing compared to the really expensive jobs that you are beginning to figure out how to create, but it’s a start.
If you find that you don’t really have the time – or if it’s just too much of a struggle – to begin looking for ways to spend the federal stimulus funding you have been awarded to create jobs, just let us know. We would be more than happy to help.
The low-income women who are waiting to get into our courses and these women’s families would really appreciate it as well.
Yours sincerely,
Elizabeth de Renzy

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Women’s Initiative Bringing Job Creation to the Table at the Fourth Annual San Francisco Women’s Policy Summit

On Wednesday, September 15, 2010 Women’s Initiative has been invited to participate in the Fourth Annual SF Women’s Policy Summit: “Empowerment and Access”.

For the past three years, the SF Women's Policy Summit has convened an exciting group of leaders to build networks, outline policy issues, and encourage elected officials and candidates for office to support the future of women and families in San Francisco. This year, Women’s Initiative has been asked to participate on two expert panels on job creation and small business.

Brandi Chalker, Women’s Initiative graduate and Owner of Urban Bazaar, will be joined by Nicole Levine, Executive Director of the North Bay, in a break out session to explore the reality of being a woman business owner in San Francisco and identify policy priorities for business success that leads to job creation and economic development.

Elizabeth de Renzy, Researcher and Data Analyst, will join policy experts, Tom Radulovich (Livable City, BART), Fei Tsen (SPUR, Greenbelt Alliance, Chinatown Community Development Corporation), Peter Albert (SFMTA), and Christina Olague (Planning Commission) on a panel to discuss how the development of women owned businesses can enable San Francisco to continue to grow while creating local jobs and strong neighborhoods in which women and families can thrive.

For more information about the summit see the website of the SF Department on the Status of Women.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Women's Initiative featured on



One of our Women’s Initiative Woman Entrepreneur of the Year winners is also a blogger for Check out Janine Popick’s, of VerticalResponse, blog today on winning the award and the importance of recognizing women in business.
If you’d like to do your part in recognizing the contributions of women business owners, be sure to attend one of our Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award ceremonies in October. More info and purchase tickets here!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Call for policies that create jobs through microenterprise development for Latinas

By: Elizabeth de Renzy, Researcher & Data Analyst

Together with leaders from other civil rights, labor, and student organizations, NCLR is leading One Nation Working Together, a national campaign to call for policies to create jobs and invest in a strong economic future. A major feature of the campaign is an historic rally scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on October 2, 2010. Click here to learn more about One Nation Working Together.
Business ownership has historically been one of the most effective ways for low-skilled Hispanic entrepreneurs to increase income and build assets in the US. The self-employment rate of Latinas is rapidly growing, especially in the states along the US-Mexico border. Nevertheless, disparities in business ownership still exist. Latina entrepreneurs face challenges both in starting and growing their businesses. Training, networking, and mentoring opportunities are often limited and there is unequal access to capital resulting from discriminatory treatment in both the public and private sectors.
An investment in microenterprise development targeting the low-income Latinas would create jobs, build assets, and reduce poverty among Hispanic families.
At the height of the recession, nine in ten un- and underemployed women who received microenterprise training through Women’s Initiative entered employment or self-employment within the first year after training. More than one in ten provided jobs for others within the first year.
Small businesses are the foundation of American neighborhoods and small towns. They provide jobs and increase the purchasing power that will stimulate the local economy. Business ownership has played an important role in the upward economic mobility of immigrants. Self-employment rates for Latinas, especially immigrants, are growing at a rapid pace but disparities still exist. Microenterprise development services are an import part of the solution to escalating poverty and unemployment rates among Latinos.
Join Women's Initiative by calling for policies that create jobs through microenterprise development for women, especially Latinas and immigrants.