Elizabeth de Renzy, Research and Public Policy Manager, Women’s Initiative for Self Employment
First published June 2013
Does microenterprise have an impact on the local economy? Drawing on nearly 25 years of experience and five years of data collected from 753 clients, Women’s Initiative examined the impact of our program on the local economy through increased sales, income, jobs, and sales tax. We found that, even as economic recovery and job growth remained weak in the U.S., our clients – the low-income, high potential women we serve – multiplied their annual gross revenue more than thirteenfold within the first 18 months after training, and in 2012 alone, our clients provided 2,313 jobs for others through their businesses. Including the jobs that they created for themselves, this amounted to a total of 5,317 local jobs created and retained in 2012. The findings in this report indicate that our program has had a significant impact on the local economy. For every $1 invested in our program, $30 was returned to the local economy within 18 months after training. Moreover, this return on investment accumulated each year as clients’ businesses continued to thrive. Five years after training, the return on investment reached $108 for every $1 invested in our program, demonstrating that an investment in microenterprise has a powerful and sustainable economic impact on the community as well as on the individual entrepreneurs.