Franklin McKinley Women’s Initiative


Franklin McKinley Women’s Initiative is an innovative pilot program designed to help low-income women to develop the skills and training needed to start their own businesses. The idea for the initiative came from the genuine desire of 16 women from the Santee neighborhood of East San Jose who wished to gain economic self-sufficiency to better support their families and community.


Step Up Silicon Valley, in partnership with Franklin McKinley Children’s Initiative (FMCI) and the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment, developed a two-phased small business development program. The 11-week course included sessions on:

  • Writing a business plan
  • Establishing a business
  • Marketing products and services
  • Obtaining a micro-loan

31 women participated in the program, with business interests ranging from housekeeping to catering to cosmetology. Upon completion of the program, graduates had the opportunity to receive additional business support for another year.


In the spring of 2013, we partnered with CommUniverCity and San Jose State University to provide graduates with additional guidance in microenterprise development. Three graduates of the 2011-2012 program participated in “Marketing Smarts”, a community-engaged learning course that addresses the need to empower women by developing awareness and knowledge of how to market their existing ventures.

During the course, women micro-entrepreneurs worked with student teams from the Integrated Marketing Communications class at the SJSU College of Business who serve as consultants by identifying the marketing communication needs of each business. Together, they developed a complete marketing communications plan to strengthen the market presence of their business. These included plans to start a daycare service, develop a catering and food cart business, and expand a cleaning service. Each graduate received a certificate of completion in marketing communications at SJSU.

Intel Corporation provided key funding for the continuation of the microenterprise development program. As a result, five women micro-entrepreneurs received certificates of completion in integrated marketing in the fall of 2013.


Franklin McKinley Children’s Initiative
San Jose State University College of Business