Enhancing Employment for Low-Income Women: Lessons learned from the third round of the Collaborative Fund for Women’s Economic Development

August 1, 2004  • Jeremy Black

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This report is about a set of nine social-purpose businesses funded by the Collaborative Fund for Women’s Economic Development (CFWED). Each of these businesses shares a common social purpose: to create better jobs for low-income women. These businesses are in a range of industries in which low-income women are typically employed. Where these firms differ from traditional firms is in their interest in locating in low-income communities, and/or in creating jobs that pay higher wages, offer cooperative ownership opportunities, and/or provide better hours and benefits. In addition, many of the CFWED grantees also seek to pursue additional social outcomes, such as: providing a higher quality of care to the ill, elderly or children; building businesses that support and reinforce the cultures and skills of key ethnic communities; or providing their services in an environmentally sensitive way. This report provides insight into the employment outcomes and business performance of these nine firms.