Over the last five years, the number of women-owned businesses has grown at twice the rate of all U.S. firms in the next few years, the number is expected to surpass the six million mark. Kitchen Table Entrepreneurs tells the inspirational stories of eleven low-income women who have marshaled the creative energy, confidence, and capital necessary to start their own small businesses. These women, who have used their entrepreneurial skills as a route out of poverty, give an American face to an economic empowerment tool that has enjoyed great success in developing countries. By becoming their own bosses, they not only provide for their children but also inspire them. Though each of their businesses is unique, all eleven of these women have discovered previously unknown strengths as they've struggled to overcome personal and bureaucratic obstacles. All received important assistance from nonprofit organizations supported by the Ms. Foundation for Women, the pioneer funding entity of microenterprise programs in the United States. Updated with a new epilogue.
Martha Shirk, a journalist who specializes in social issues, is co-author of Lives on the Line. She lives in Palo Alto, California.Anna Wadia is a program director at the Ms. Foundation in New York City.