It's Onward and Upward for These Future Salon Owners
Salons as a global economic force
More than ever before, women have shown their potential to grow the global economy. Nowhere is this more evident than in the salon industry, which puts more women into business than any other industry in the United States, and where job growth for skin therapists is expected to increase 40 percent by 2022.
What is FITE
In 2011, The Dermalogica® Foundation launched FITE, Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship, to help budding women entrepreneurs around the world invest in their own potential. Working in more than 70 countries, FITE creates pathways to entrepreneurship by providing access to small loans and business resources, supporting education and leadership training for women, and helping to amplify women’s voices around the world. FITE has helped to fund over 68,000 women entrepreneurs worldwide, providing them with the opportunities and resources needed to achieve financial independence. FITE Future Entrepreneurs is a unique program that provides not only an education and vocational training but also an opportunity to open for more women to own businesses, thereby changing their own lives and the communities in which they live.
Launching FITE Future Entrepreneurs
In 2015, Dermalogica, The International Dermal Institute (IDI), and FITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship) officially launched the FITE Future Entrepreneurs program in New York City to create a pathway to entrepreneurship for at-risk young women who aspire to work in the salon or skin care industry. The program blends what Dermalogica does best with our commitment to advance women and girls as future business owners. FITE Future Entrepreneurs uses mentorship and coaching aids to build a strong community of likeminded women who support and nurture each other through their goals. By investing in women entrepreneurs, the program aims to ultimately help improve the education, health, and welfare of households across the world.
A Complete Pathway to Entrepreneurship
Through a scholarship application process, FITE identified and selected ten young women, between ages 18 to 26, who were out-of-work and out-of-school, to be a part of our flagship program in NYC and go through a complete one year industry education and on-the-job training program. Each program participant receives a scholarship for vocational education, materials and supplies including a laptop computer, mentorship and business management training, childcare assistance, advanced course study, shadowing, job placement within a salon at the conclusion of the program, as well as access to the resources they need in order to gain financial independence as skin therapists and salon owners.
In partnership with Grace Institute, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 100,000 underserved women in the New York area, FITE selected the first class of women from candidates across the city and tri-state area, and Grace Institute has continued to provide the necessary therapeutic and social services for the participants facing incredible challenges in home life everyday. Program partners also include technology expert Dell which donated laptops and computer training to each of the women as well as banking and financial literacy partner Operation Hope giving the women an opportunity to understand their current status of banking, how to establish savings and credit to get on their feet financially and be set up for success in the future.
Expanding the Model Globally
FITE’s model is scalable and will be rolled out to other cities across the US to support young women in developing the skills needed to achieve financial independence and in turn reach their full potential. This year the global expansion of the program includes the United Kingdom and emerging markets such as Cambodia and India.
[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in Private Sector Leadership in Financial Inclusion.]