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March 23, 2004


CHICAGO - Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and representatives from the Women’s Self-Employment Project (WSEP) honored Women’s History Month and announced Celebrate Women Expo, a 3-day event highlighting women’s economic self-sufficiency.
 “The Women’s Self Employment Project is an organization that works to enhance women’s capacity for success and achieve their potential, “said Quinn. “Self-employment and asset development are proven strategies for alleviating poverty.”
Women’s Self-Employment Project is a nationally recognized leader and innovator in the field of microenterprise development and microfinance. Since 1986, WSEP has assisted over 8,000 low and moderate income women increase their economic self-sufficiency and establish a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families.
Quinn was joined by Wanda White from the Women’s Self-Employment Project and Rosanna Marquez from The Eleanor Women’s Foundation as well as representatives from the Chicago Foundation for Women, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, Chicago Women in Trades and other leading women’s groups.
Operating under the philosophy that the teaching someone to fish is more beneficial then catching the fish for them, the Women’s Self-Employment Project provides women with the foundation they need to develop a business, author a business plan, hire and manage employees, and keep track of their bottom line.
As State Treasurer, Quinn invested over $2 billion in communities across Illinois creating jobs, housing, and economic development projects throughout the state. One of these projects was the Women’s Finance Initiative. 
The Women’s Finance Initiative was a partnership between then State Treasurer Pat Quinn and financial institutions to create a loan fund for women’s business development.  Groups such as the Women’s Self- Employment Program were then able to provide desperately needed low-interest rate loans, technical and business planning assistance to women trying to enter the field of self-employment.
 “Economic equity for women requires greater access to credit and helping women become business owners and entrepreneurs,” said Quinn.


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