Wishwas was founded in 2010 in response to a growing number of immigrant women in Queens who lacked access to capital and sustainable work. It was in the midst of the economic recession that many women became increasingly isolated and vulnerable with no safety net or insurance. Some had never opened a bank account and many were left out of all financial decisions made within their families and communities.

Beginning with donated space from the Kew Gardens Community Center, Wishwas started organizing weekly meetings, where women could practice their communication skills, engage in skill-based training, and develop relationships with each other. The idea of cooperatives emerged as a self-sustaining alternative for women to gain control of their lives.