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create / 2019

West Tenth - A Modern Main Street

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Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by W Tenth Co

West Tenth aims to unleash the potential of the women in LA, creating 10,000+ local, women-led businesses along the way. West Tenth is a digital marketplace that encourages women who have left the workforce to market (and monetize) their everyday talents to their neighbors, friends, and communities. Where some may see a woman with just a cute photography hobby or a knack for home organizing or decorating, West Tenth sees a potential entrepreneur. Help CREATE the West Tenth vision: a modern, women-led main street.

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

West Tenth was born over a cup of English tea just outside the library at the University of Oxford. It started as a conversation between two MBA students who also happened to be mothers (and much older than the general student population). Their conversation steered towards the incredible stay-at-home moms, and personal friends they knew who were just emerging from the intense years of parenting and ready to go back to work.

Their friends, regardless of employment prior to motherhood, commonly felt lost and unwanted by the marketplace. As their friends’ time away from the workforce increased, their employment options seemingly evaporated. This outcome felt wrong, it felt incongruous. These women had gained real skills and maturity in their time away from work. They had invested their time raising human beings and volunteering in their local communities, why had this disqualified them from employment? Ironically, the MBA students felt they lacked many of the skills their stay-at-home friends boasted. Both students wanted to hire their friends to help improve their own homes and families. Inspiration struck.

Why not encourage women to market their family and home management skills to their neighbors? Who wouldn’t want an easy way to buy freshly baked bread from Tracy down the street? And what about Emily, the woman whose home looks like it walked out of the pages of Home & Garden? Couldn’t she create the same kind of home for her aesthetically-challenged friends? These two students realized they knew countless women whose domestic skills were immediately monetizable, albeit undervalued and underrecognized by the traditional marketplace. As they began to speak about this to other students and friends who told them about more women in the same situation, they began to appreciate that this reality was pervasive. They began to see the true scope of the problem, but also the scale of the opportunity.

West Tenth was founded as a way to unleash the talent of the women around us.

West Tenth wants to help women turn their unique talents into businesses that serve LA.

West Tenth wants to improve LA’s access to the talents of the women in this city.

West Tenth wants to build a modern, women-led main street.

Which of the create metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Jobs per capita
  • Minority- and women-owned firms
  • Number of high-growth startups

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • San Fernando Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • Will start in San Fernando Valley & Conejo Valley but will expand to all of LA soon after

How will your project make LA the best place to create?

West Tenth is a digital marketplace that encourages women to market their everyday talents to their local communities. We enable women to launch businesses from their homes by connecting customers to digital storefronts that are owned and run by female, micro-entrepreneurs in their neighborhoods.

Our company has already invested in building a mobile app that will allow women to launch businesses with ease. Our simple interface, professional photography, and writing support ensures that all storefronts put their best foot forward with potential customers. The app also allows women to source new customers, communicate about projects, invoice, and transact on all major credit cards.

West Tenth is rooted in an important observation: 28 million women are left out of the US workforce each year. Many of whom are mothers, caregivers, and neighbors with enormously valuable talents that are under-recognized, underutilized, and under-resourced. In building the West Tenth community we were struck by the number of creative, crafted services that are currently being provided for free by these talented women to friends and family. Many of these crafted services are not easily accessible in the traditional consumer-service market, and many of these women do not realize there is opportunity to monetize their talents. Where some may see a cute hobby or just a knack for a particular task such as baking or vacation planning, we see business opportunity. We see micro-entrepreneurs in need of a launchpad.

West Tenth’s app is launching in early May 2019. We are currently assembling our initial cohort of storefront owners in the Conejo Valley community. We intend to expand to the rest of LA as 2019 progresses.

West Tenth synergizes entrepreneurship, innovative technology, and creative industries. The existence of West Tenth’s community represents significant progress. This community will play a pivotal role in helping LA CREATE by nurturing diverse entrepreneurs, securing new business licenses, and assigning monetary value to under-represented crafted services.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Pilot project (testing a new idea on a small scale to prove feasibility)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success for our project will be based around how many women start businesses for the first time with the help our of digital marketplace, and how much revenue these women are able to generate for themselves. Our target in the first year of operation is 2,500 new female-owned, home-based businesses.