Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Invisibility of Women and Growing Poverty

By: Guest Blogger, Arianna Samuel, Research Intern

Up from 13.9 percent in 2009 to 14.5 percent in 2010, the poverty rate among women is the highest it has been in 17 years. Somehow the mainstream media has failed to mention the disproportionate representation of women in these figures. They have not, however, been forgotten.
The feminization of poverty can be attributed to a number of odds stacked against women in the current economic climate. It is undoubted—the recession impacted everyone—however, it is largely the jobs in woman-dominated sectors such as education and other public sector jobs that are unlikely to be restored anytime soon. Throughout the post-recession time period of June 2009 through May 2011, while the unemployment rate for men decreased, the overall rate for women increased to 8.5 percent; women lost 218,000 jobs while men gained 768,000.
The role of microenterprise in both the lives of women and the economy is, increasingly significant. Not only is microenterprise in part in the business of creating jobs, it is also geared to provide women the opportunity to fulfill family-oriented responsibilities and work enough to become financially fit. For single mothers, a population who has one of the highest numbers of individuals living under the poverty line at 41 percent, microenterprise truly could be an answer. It is not an immediate answer—as some self-confidence, networks, and financial and business skills are necessary in order for microentrepreneurship to be successful—but, fortunately there are microenterprise organizations like Women’s Initiative to help women cultivate these skills, giving them both a boost out of poverty and a hand into financial stability.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Must Know - Unlucky Number 13 as in FY13 Budget

In their recent newsletter, CAMEO talked about issues with the President's recommended budget for FY 2013 and issues with lack of funding for small business:

I was reading the President's recommended budget for FY 2013. You can read the SBA budget starting on page 191. It's not good. PRIME is eliminated. Please don't shoot the messenger. Martin Feeney, our guy in DC, put together this budget chart.

CAMEO issued a press statement* on Tuesday about
our disappointment over the SBA budget.

President Obama's FY 2013 Budget will not help nine-tenths of small businesses. The Budget contains support for small business in name only. The recommended cuts to programs will hurt the majority of small businesses.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Inside View to Women’s Initiative (Part 1)

By: Guest Blogger, Arriel Sherman, Marketing/Events Fellow

I would like to introduce myself to you, the reader. My name is Arriel Sherman and I am a Women’s Initiative Marketing/Events Fellow. I want to give you just a bit of my background and how Women’s Initiative found me.

In 2010, I graduated from California State University, Long Beach. I was bright-eyed and bushy tailed; ready to take on the world. The only problem is that I had absolutely no direction of where to start. The only message that pumped through me was “just graduate from college, no matter what it takes.” But no one really told me to focus on what I liked and how I could incorporate that into the “real world.” So, I decided to work with a university as an advisor. I had the same schedule every day. Wake up, get to work on time, go to my cubicle, then speak with students, clock out, and go home. My 9am to 7pm routine just didn’t mesh with me. So, in December, I quit; just after 6 months of working. Feeling lost and overwhelmed, I returned home to Richmond, CA.

At the beginning of 2011, I was on a quest to try new things. I remember thinking about my graduation day and how I felt so accomplished and how I wanted to become truly successful. I thought that the only way I could do that was by working for myself. I would ensure that my company would run efficiently, my employees would be happy, and most of all, I would be happy. So, I spoke to an advisor, Bridget Anderson from Making Waves Education Program, and she mentioned Women’s Initiative. She said that she met Julie Abrams, at a previous event and it would be great if I signed up. So I did. I signed up for the My Business Action Plan session, the following week. 

The moment I stepped foot in the door at the San Francisco office, I was greeted by lots of women; women who were employees and women who were developing their business ideas. I felt an immediate connection. We were here to share our ideas and grow them into something larger than a notion. We were supportive of each other. Keep in mind, we were all perfect strangers but because we were here, at Women’s Initiative, we smiled and shared, and empowered each other during this hour long session. I think that because we all had the courage to get to this class, share our ideas (many of us, for the first time), and feel supported in our decisions, instead of doubted, we connected as “women with visions.” I can tell you that this is something I have never experienced in a college classroom, ever. After this experience, I knew I was ready to take the next step; I knew that I was ready to begin my journey as an aspiring entrepreneur. In this moment, I was finally ready to feed my entrepreneurial soul.  

Technorati Tags: Education, Entrepreneurship, Women and Support

Microenterprise and Self-Employment Should be Included in Job Act! Your Thoughts?

By: Anonymous Guest Blogger

We are all in support of job creation. We all want the new Jobs Act to succeed and to help the economy recover. The act outlines the guidelines for how states must use federal funds to provide job training to their unemployed citizens. However, this training is only for existing jobs, and not for microenterprise training. At Women’s Initiative, we invest substantially in partnerships with other agencies and organizations who share our mission. Therefore we are attempting to partner with local Workforce Investment Boards to provide self-employment training to unemployed workers. Despite the success of our training program, we are not succeeding in such partnership attempts, because the law does not include funding for self-employment training.

Job training to support self-employment provides more numerous opportunities for job creation. The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) conducted a study which found that if one in three microenterprises hired just one employee, the U.S. economy would reach full employment. The Microenterprise sector can play a powerful role in helping the American economy emerge into recovery and create jobs through small businesses. Please share your thoughts. What would you like to see in the new jobs act with regard to self-employment?

Click here for more information on the AEO’s study and the resulting “One in Three Alliance”: http://www.microenterpriseworks.org/