Closing the Wealth Gap Through Self-employment

Building self sufficiency among women through entrepreneurship
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This report advocates microenterprise as an important tool for women seeking economic security. It is based on data collected on 691 clients before and after they participated in the Women's Initiative business management training from 1998 to 2007. The study found that business ownership offers financial stability to women of color who are given culturally-competent training and resources to start their own businesses. Key findings include:

  • Clients more than triple their overall household wealth and increase their business equity six-fold two years after participating in the training;
  • Clients business development is positively related to their household's financial well-being;
  • Clients who are in business have 40% higher average household incomes and 48% more household net worth than clients who are not;
  • One in five clients report owning their own home after starting a business;
  • Homeownership rates increased most dramatically for Latina clients, growing from 11% before training to 32% after training.

The relatively low start-up cost of microenterprise allows a woman facing significant barriers to self sufficiency to build an asset that can generate a safety net of personal wealth for the future of her entire family.

About this Publication

By Jaggar, K. & de Renzy, E.