Many of the women of Witnesses are entrepreneurs who run informal businesses (i.e. hair/makeup business, catering, childcare) to make ends meet. With so few job opportunities available, turning this informal work into legitimate businesses is an important strategy for families trying to escape economic insecurity. Though the idea of offering micro-loans to help low-income women start income-generating business started in the developing world, its popularity has grown in the U.S.
While several organizations in Philadelphia offer micro-loans to middle and lower-income entrepreneurs, those living in deep poverty - as TANF recipients are - often get left out of these business financing opportunities. Philadelphia could offer micro-loans and discounted business licenses to low-income individuals who want to join the formal economy.