Net Impact Chicago with round logo

Hack-a-thon: Tackling Work+Shelter's Key Challenges

  • Thu, November 10, 2016
  • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • WeWork, 332 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago


  • For dues-paying members of NIC only.
  • For members of WeWork only.

Registration is closed

Interested in financials and cash flow? How about marketing? Or production quality and operations?

Join us on November 10 and help WORK+SHELTER tackle critical business challenges it is currently facing!

This "hack-a-thon" will be an evening of pro bono consulting that will make a big impact on a fast-growing, innovative social enterprise. We will be addressing WORK+SHELTER's most important challenges as listed in the "About the Issues" section below.

This event will take place at WeWork, which has generously offered their co-working space near Grant Park.

Net Impact Chicago and WeWork will help stimulate your after-work brain activity with pizza, wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverage options.


WORK+SHELTER is an ethical cut-and-sew factory that provides women in need in New Delhi, India, with a safe space to work and make a fair wage. Connect with this fascinating organization on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Theresa VanderMeer founded WORK+SHELTER in 2011. She is a tech-loving social entrepreneur that identifies deeply with the Horace Mann quote “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” As a University of Michigan-funded researcher, Theresa worked to understand how economic empowerment transforms women’s lives. Having kicked off her career at ad giants like Google and Publicis, Theresa now combines the findings of her research and her corporate knowledge of client management and offshore operations to employ women in need at WORK+SHELTER.

When not hustling to move her factory’s fair-trade, organic tote bags and tees, Theresa can be found exercising her champion sleeping abilities at less-than-ideal places like Burning Man or compulsively reading The New York Times, including her favorite column, “Modern Love.”


A - Financial

WORK+SHELTER, like many organizations, has challenges with cash flow. Historically the social enterprise has bootstrapped, coupling small donations and business income to make financial ends meet. W+S is in transition from operating as a 501(c)(3) to LLC, and seeks to both invest in growth and effectively manage operating expenses. Until date any "profit" there may be from sales has been put back into the organization as investments in employees and equipment. Further, the entity does not have a lengthy financial track record that can be utilized to obtain credit. How can we begin to explore different financial scenarios and explore funding opportunities surrounding them?

B - Production

WORK+SHELTER has built some cloud-based production tracking systems. This allows the US team to know what production has been done at any given time, and what the quality and payment for the production has been. However, there is room to operationalize other elements of the production process. Some issues we will discuss: 1). How can we reduce the number of sub-standard products that are made and delivered? 2). How do we ensure all materials are accounted for and tracked 3). How do we ensure production is on track?

C - Marketing

WORK+SHELTER transforms women's lives. We seek to share our successes with multiple client pools, and also desire to be a transparent factory that engages audiences on the importance of fair trade. We want to share the humanity of the women at our center in Delhi to businesses and consumers in a respectful, interesting way. However, the budget to do this is extremely limited. What resources are available to us, and what strategies can we employ to share our story?

© Net Impact Chicago
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software