Building economic stability through micro-enterprise: The Women and Micro-Enterprise Project at Women's Habitat
By Laura Boccioni, Community Development Worker and Coordinator for the Women and Micro-Enterprise Project
If you were at the Supporting Survivors by Supporting Staff training conference in March 2016, you may have heard Leila Sarangi from Women's Habitat speak during the "Social Innovation in Response to Economic Abuse and Violence against Women" panel. As Manager of Community Programs, Leila leads the Women and Micro-Enterprise (WME) Project, supporting women as they develop, test, and grow their own small businesses.
Developed in collaboration with Scadding Court Community Centre, and with supporting research from the Rotman School of Business’ DesignWorks Program, the WME Project is designed to respond directly to the unique needs of women-entrepreneurs who have experienced violence and abuse, seeking to fill the gaps they found through their research into existing employment programs. The project takes a holistic approach, understanding that in addition to business skills training, access to life skills training, opportunities for business testing, individual business coaching, peer support, and comprehensive wraparound supports (including case-management and counselling) are key to supporting women who have experienced abuse as they pursue economic stability through micro-entrepreneurship.
Registration is now open!
Please spread the word about this unique opportunity.Participation is open to women who are living on low incomes, have experienced gender-based abuse, and have an interest in starting their own business. Whether they’re just starting with an idea and building from the ground up, or they’re micro-entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to develop their skills and grow their existing enterprise, participants will be connected with business and life skill development opportunities to help them reach their goals.
The WME Program is an 8 month program (running from September 2016 to April 2017) that includes a multi-session business course, life skills development sessions, and ongoing business development through working with business coaches, life skills mentors, and their peers. Participants can enroll in the 9 week, part-time businesses course, which covers all they need to know about starting a small business. The course is offered at the Learning Enrichment Foundation (116 Industry Street), from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, from September 19 to November 17. Upon graduation, students will have developed a business plan that will help them as they continue with the program, working collaboratively and independently to grow their businesses, with ongoing access to business coaches and further life and business skills development sessions.
Throughout the 8 months, participants work together, sharing their ideas and knowledge, and offering each other valuable emotional and entrepreneurial support. They will have access to counsellors and a project coordinator who will connect them with key wrap-around supports. They also have the opportunity to join the Toronto Women’s Collective, a group of micro-entrepreneurs and program participants who share business opportunities using a collective model where overhead costs and resources are shared. This model creates a flexible, supportive, and low-risk environment for incubating their small businesses, and helps to mitigate many of the added barriers women face as they embark on entrepreneurship.
September 2016 to April 2017 (8 months). Includes a 9 week course from September to November
Participation is open to those who identify as a woman or genderqueer, who have experienced gender-based abuse, and who are living on low incomes.
Schedule: September 19 to November 17, 2016
Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
Additional life skills sessions may be scheduled on some Wednesdays or Fridays
Deadline to register: September 12 at 5:00 pm
Location: Learning Enrichment Foundation
116 Industry Street, York, Ontario, M6M 4L8
The Learning Enrichment Foundation is committed to AODA compliance. Please let us know if you require any specific accommodations when you call to register.
Life Skills Sessions
Life skills sessions will be scheduled throughout the 8 months. A full course schedule will be provided to registrants before the business course starts.
For more information, and to register, contact Laura Buccioni, Community Development Worker and Coordinator for the Women and Micro-enterprise Project: 416-252-7949 x237
You can support the businesses involved in our project by following the Toronto Women’s Collective on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.