Women-led startup turns domestic abuse survivors into entrepreneurs

Amonth ago Christine and her children were living in a shelter for survivors of domestic violence.

Now she lives in her own apartment and runs a business selling aromatherapy products on the side while working as an admin assistant.

She credits that transition to a not-for-profit called FreeFrom, which helps women who have left abusive partners launch businesses and become financially independent so they can build new lives for themselves and their children.

“FreeFrom gave me the opportunity to be myself and be good at something. My whole life I’ve been told ‘you can’t do this or that’,” she said. “But I can and I’m doing it.”

The organisation runs a six-month training and mentorship program to coach the women through setting up their business, getting their first customers and coming up with a branding and marketing strategy. The FreeFrom team also helps them rebuild their credit and win compensation for the harm they have suffered through legal aid.

FreeFrom, which was founded in 2016 by lawyer and former investment banker Sonya Passi, is currently working with 30 female entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland and will launch in New York early next year. Read more

Olivia Solon – The Guardian – 23 Nov 2017