Women: DIY

Two recent articles in the Washington Post caught my attention.  One focused on UberX drivers and the other one on fashion trucks.  The common theme — women creating their own jobs.  Featured in the UberX article was a woman who has been out of work for three years.  One afternoon, she was running an errand with a friend who is a driver and instantly knew this was her path to employment.  It did not appear that she spent years researching entrepreneurial opportunities – she just took advantage of an opening.  Her earnings could reach $64,000 a year, according to the article. 

The second woman saw the food truck craze and decided why not fashion?  So, she renovated a truck and sells clothes from it instead of food.  A new twist, but one that makes a lot of sense.  Why rent an expensive boutique when you can renovate a truck for $5,000 and bring clothes to the customers, rather than relying on foot traffic.  It is also a twist on tourist T-shirt trucks that park in one spot and vendors that have tables selling wares on the street.  With “Come see what’s inside” written on a chalkboard bumper, the Curvy Chix Chariot truck has a dressing room, wood floors and customers are invited inside. 

Innovation is not limited to technology companies in Silicon Valley.  They can be simple ideas – a twist on a traditional sales model.  Uber has revolutionized the taxi industry in urban areas and food trucks revolutionized how food is sold.  Now entrepreneurs are taking those innovations and extending them even further.

According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s (AEO) recent study, Bigger than You Think: The Economic Impact of Microbusiness, even if a woman owns a part-time business, she earns approximately $13,000 a year from that business.  Whether full-time or part-time, whether a traditional store or a fashion truck, the workforce is changing to create their own jobs and to supplement their income by operating microbusinesses.

The government task force headed by Vice President Biden, Job-Driven Training for Workers, would do well to pay attention to these examples.  Government needs to go from talking about “getting a job” to “creating a job.”  And a little help goes a long way.  Women’s Business Centers spend only $137 on average to assist a woman interested in exploring owning her own business.  Statistics show that entrepreneurs who take advantage of business training and counseling like this stay in business longer and tend to have average revenues that are 38% higher than businesses that did not.

Any way you look at it, business innovation is driving the economy and women are on the front lines.  Our government should invest in helping them succeed.


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