About the Old CEO Women

Mission and Vision


The mission of C.E.O. Women is to create economic opportunities for low-income immigrant and refugee women through teaching English, communications and entrepreneurship skills, so they can establish successful livelihoods. C.E.O. Women then provides women with intensive mentoring, coaching and access to capital needed to start a small business.


As a young girl, I was always stricken by the incredible degree of poverty I witnessed when traveling back to Bangladesh, my father’s birth country. In college, I learned of Muhammed Yunus’ work with the Grameen Bank and how this revolution in capitalism did so much to uplift poor women from poverty and into self-sufficiency. Moreover, seeing the single women in my own family struggle to make ends meet while grappling with social welfare systems and single parenthood made me want to create systems for social change. After several years of studying, researching and working with women facing incredible financial and social obstacles, I began to envision a place where women could be nurtured and supported to fulfill their life dreams.

In 2000, I founded Creating Economic Opportunities for Women (C.E.O. Women) to address the unique needs of immigrant and refugee women struggling to become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. The concept of C.E.O. Women is simple: our program is not based on a deficit model. Rather, it builds off of the entrepreneurial skills and hard work ethic immigrants and refugees bring to this nation, imparting them with the tools to further their own economic empowerment in a new land. Now, more than ever, we need to help immigrants and refugees build futures for themselves and their families in this country. Through C.E.O. Women, I am not only changing the world, but I am allowing others to change the world too. By helping one woman we not only help her children and her family, but affect an entire community, thereby contributing to positive social change and a brighter tomorrow.

Farhana Huq, President and Founder, C.E.O. Women

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