Chapter 20: Achieving Economic Self-sufficiency through Microenterprise Training: Outcome-based Evidence from the Center for Women and Enterprise
Colette Dumas INTRODUCTION Low-income women in the United States encounter many obstacles to starting their own businesses such as: lack of socialization to entrepreneurship in the home, school and society; exclusion from traditional business networks, financial demands of venture start-up and management; lack of access to capital and information; discriminatory attitudes of some lenders; gender stereotypes and expectations; socialized ambivalence about competition and profit; and lack of self-confidence (Center for Women’s Business Research, 2004). In addition, low-income women face restrictions on the amount of government aid they receive, the number of hours they can work, and the amount of healthcare and other assistance they obtain, as well as regulations that do not distinguish between personal and business assets. These barriers make it very hard for many low-income women to support themselves (Center for Women’s Business Research, 2009; Bonavoglia and Wadia, 2001). In addition, the majority of low-income women do not possess the training, resources, and skills necessary to start businesses. A study of low-income microentrepreneurs by the Aspen Institute (2002) found that among the 53 percent who moved out of poverty, many derived their income not from microenterprise alone, but from a combination of self-employment and wages (Ford Foundation Report, 2000). 260 Achieving economic self-sufficiency through microenterprise training 261 FACILITATING ECONOMIC TRANSITION OF LOWINCOME WOMEN THROUGH TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT Small-scale enterprise development is a viable strategy for creating economic opportunity for low-income people (Yunus, 2007). It is a way to help disadvantaged groups and those receiving public aid, so that...
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