MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A local nonprofit is looking to empower single mothers in Orange Mound by paving a way for them to become successful entrepreneurs. It’s a brand new pilot program and they’re looking for participants now.
JUICE Orange Mound is a grassroots neighborhood nonprofit and business incubator. It was awarded $40,000 to build a virtual entrepreneur experience for single mothers with business aspirations.
“Single moms are definitely a subgroup that need to be served and there is statistical evidence that when you invest in them, the return on your investment is just so great,” Britney Thornton, the founder of JUICE Orange Mound, said.
Thornton said the pilot program will lay the foundation for single mothers through a six week crash course. Women should leave the experience with a tangible business plan, Thornton said.
In the 38114 zip code, which includes Orange Mound, 72% of homes with children are run by single mothers, according to US Census Bureau data.
“The gap we see in our communities, our black and brown communities are not the absence of innovation. It’s not the absence of desire. It’s not the absence of will,” Alisha Gordon said.
Gordon is the founder of The Current Project, a nonprofit based out of Harlem that’s designed to support single Black mothers. She’s collaborating with JUICE as a consultant for the pilot project.
Gordon said opportunity lies in the data of Orange Mound.
“The innovation that single moms have to make a dollar out of 15 cents, the innovation they have to continue to push, to finish school and cook dinner and do all these things in communities that are often overlooked,” she said. “The only thing that is missing is they are not connected to the right resources.”
During the pilot program, women will learn things like how to pitch their businesses, about e-commerce and more. They’ll also be connected with mentors and they can receive micro-loans to jumpstart or grow their business.
“We talk about this wealth building thing and it’s not just something that happens,” Thornton said. “There are things that have to be in line for you to be able to build a solid foundation. We’re doing that foundation laying.”
Thornton said they are looking for 12-15 women connected to Orange Mound to participate. They’re also looking for local business owners to get involved and be mentors.
The pilot expects to begin in February.