Suited for Startup: Helping low-income women start and grow businesses

Image Suited for Change, one of our newest grantees, breaks down barriers to self-sufficiency by providing professional clothing, career and life skills education to low-income women. Over the last 21 years, the organization has assisted over 20,000 women with professional suiting and career education/job readiness programs so they can successfully transition to the workforce.

The women who come to Suited for Change have a job interview scheduled but face an unexpected roadblock: “It’s hard to believe but over 40 percent of these women have to skip a job interview because they have nothing appropriate to wear.” Sharon Flynn, executive director and a former small business owner. Beyond this hurdle, these women often face other issues including underemployment, stagnant wages, and a deficit in skills, education and experience.

ImageTo help women emerge from this cycle and to further its mission of empowering women and making them economically independent,  Suited for Startup was created to help low-income women acquire the necessary skills to become future business owners, leaders and drivers of our local and national economy. It is the only business incubator of its kind in the DC area, focusing solely on supporting women entrepreneurs from low-income backgrounds.

Launched in 2013, the program selected five low-income female entrepreneurs. Each participant is a DC resident and aspiring small business owner in industries such as healthy beverages, criminal justice, education, and salon & wellness. These entrepreneurs are given access to a wide range of experts in business development, leadership and entrepreneurship. In addition, partnerships with the DC Women’s Business Center and YWCA-National Capital Area will equip the women with skills in business development, finance, sales and marketing plus health and wellness.

DC Social Innovation Project is excited to help the Suited for Startup program make an impact on the lives of many women and their families. Read more about how our volunteer consultants are helping Suited for Startup build a strong foundation for its future.

Visit our website to learn more about how we support innovative community programs and explore opportunities to get involved.

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