New York City Housing Authority

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

If you are a member of the press, please contact the following Communications Officers for additional information for your publication or news outlet:

NYCHA: Sheila Stainback or
Zodet Negrón (212) 306-3322

Women’s Initiative Program Successfully Graduates New York City Housing Authority Residents

Public Housing Residents Receive Training to Self-Start Their Businesses

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is pleased to announce the successful graduation of NYCHA residents from the Women's Initiative for Self Employment’s 11-week business training program. Women's Initiative (WI), one of the nation’s largest micro-enterprise training organizations, is a partner in NYCHA's new Resident Business Development effort and has an impressive track record that makes it a valuable partner in helping public housing residents increase their income and assets. Since partnering with NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES) in 2012, the program has successfully graduated twenty NYCHA residents. Today, five more residents are among the sixteen graduates that will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by NYCHA.

“As outlined in PLAN NYCHA, we have taken an unprecedented approach to the work of connecting residents to critical programs and services by pursuing partnership with best-in-class providers,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “Our partnership with the Women’s Initiative offers an incredible opportunity for residents to access the educational services and professional expertise needed to turn their business dreams into reality.”

”Women’s Initiative is thrilled to have NYCHA as one of our key partners in New York. Since Women’s Initiative launched our national expansion into New York last year, twenty-five NYCHA residents from around the city have attended our 11-week business training program and have completed their business plans. We are excited to see the progress that they will make in launching their businesses, creating jobs in their communities and returning money back into the local economy,” says Antonia Bowring, Executive Director of Women’s Initiative New York.

For 25 years, Women's Initiative has assisted high-potential, low-income women who dream of business ownership. WI’s mission is to build the entrepreneurial capacity of women to overcome economic and social barriers and achieve self-sufficiency. Through an intensive 22 session program, women learn to start, or expand, their businesses.

On average, clients nearly double their average annual individual income during the first year after training, from less than $13,000 before training to more than $25,000 one year after training. The percentage of clients who own a home also doubles two years after training.

Over the first two years after training, clients grow their average net household assets from less than $3,000 before training, to nearly $43,000 two years after training—or fourteen fold.

The Women’s Initiative approach centers around a 3-step process, including a MyBusinessActionPlan workshop that assists women through the self-assessment of their business ideas to develop next steps in launching their enterprise; Simple Steps, an 11-week business management course to help women start, strengthen and grow their business; and finally, SuccessLink, a network connecting graduates of the program on all levels with influential women in business, seminars and coaching and access to capital.

One in four self-employed clients provides jobs for others through her business. On average, clients pay employees nearly $22 per hour, more than twice the minimum wage. This amounted to a total of 5,317 jobs created and retained by clients in 2012.

Five years after training, 70 percent of Women’s Initiative clients are self-employed, far exceeding the national average business survival rate. These clients average nearly $150,000 in annual sales. For every $1 invested in Women’s Initiative, $30 is returned to the local economy as a result of women paying taxes, hiring others, and leaving the welfare system. Nationally, nearly all business growth in the past decades can be attributed to the increase in women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses.

For 25 years, Women’s Initiative has been providing high-potential, low-income women with the business training, funding and ongoing support to start their own businesses and become economically self-sufficient.  Women’s Initiative operates three urban hubs in San Francisco, Oakland and New York City and expects to serve nearly 2,000 women in 2013. The business management training, individual assistance and financial services provided, in English and Spanish, improve the quality of life for the women served, their families and communities.  The women who go through the Women’s Initiative program significantly increase their income and assets while launching businesses, creating jobs and stimulating the local economy.  In 2012, recent graduates of our program created and retained more than 5,300 jobs. Women’s Initiative launched its national expansion into New York in 2012. This last session took place at NYCHA/REES’ central office in Brooklyn.


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