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“Purpose is what drives our passion to empower women!”

27 Jan

2013 was an extraordinary year for growth, transition, learning, and finding purpose. We met new people, partnered with like minded organizations and people, shared the stage with influential change makers, organized and participated in events, opened our second office in Wheaton, MD…in a nutshell it was a rewarding and tremendously encouraging outlook for Empowered Women International and the year ahead of us.

Marga’s words in our January newsletter, The Year of Transformation and Women’s Empowerment!, captures not only where we’ve been, but where we’re going:

“Purpose is something really extraordinary. It’s something hard to find but easy to discover in times of crisis, in vulnerability… and perhaps, in the darkest corners of our existence…”

These words were part of my TEDx Talk in December, a TEDx Bethesda Women event organized by Jane Smith, our graduate entrepreneur of Class 2011.

Purpose is what drives our passion to empower women. Purpose inspires our women to find their own voice and overcome challenges.  

We help women transform crisis and challenges into opportunities, and seize their chance to blossom and thrive.

With your support, over the last years we’ve proved that when given the right educational training, mentoring and support services even the most vulnerable women can turn their lives around and transform themselves, their families and communities.

This transformation is what inspires each of us at EWI to pursue this mission and seek greater and more effective approaches to social change.

2014 was branded as the year of transformation, and we are already seeing it taking place…

Our new office in Montgomery County located in the Wheaton Plaza North Office Building is now open and our team is working with clients at this new location.

This year we see a stronger focus on partnerships and leveraging resources and community assets to create greater impact on the lives of immigrant, refugee and low-income women.

Together with our community partners and funders, we’re exploring an integrated approach to delivering comprehensive and holistic services that lead clients to full transformation and economic opportunity.

We’re excited about the possibilities ahead and look forward to working with you to create new opportunities that build resilient and fulfilling lives and livelihoods.

Onward and Upward!

Marga C. Fripp

Founder & Chief Visionary
Empowered Women International

Marga’s First Day in Papua New Guinea

5 Nov

 “It’s a privilege to be here in the making of this historic event and work with these women to fully empower them to pursue their highest vision, aspirations and ideals,” says Marga Fripp on her first day in Papua New Guinea after meeting with the most vibrant and determined women of PNG.

Marga will have the opportunity to witness the launching of the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PNGWCCI) on Wednesday, Nov 6th.  The First Lady of PNG, a businesswoman herself, and the most influential change maker women of the country will attend the event, and Marga will be the keynote speaker. It’s an exciting time to be there for Marga as the event symbolizes the fruition of a women-led social movement after year’s worth of struggle to achieve empowerment, political representation, financial and economic independence and much more. The organization will create an opportunity for women to voice their concerns, to engage policy makers in addressing the most volatile social and economic issues that are preventing women from achieving success and empowerment.

All women in the middle are the founders of Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Left to right Natalia (US Embassy), Theresa, Linda, Avia, Amanda, Janet, Susan (US Embassy).

Marga’s role in PNG, besides coaching and mentoring entrepreneurial skills, is to inspire and encourage women to speak up about their concerns, obstacles, drawbacks and doubts that are hindering them from achieving their goals in life. It’s conventional wisdom that change can only come when we identify our stumbling blocks and when we make the effort to address it to whoever is willing to listen, and with 20 plus years of experience under her belt Marga knows that the most important step in achieving change is to listen first. These are extraordinary women with extraordinary stories to tell and they represent not just women in PNG but women globally.

This is how Marga felt on her first few day in PNG.

“I met some of the strongest and most determined global women. I had dinner last night with the founders of the first women’s chamber of commerce in PNG. Much like at EWI we shared our stories, and how we have been helping immigrant, refugee and low-income women become self-determined and empowered entrepreneurs through our rigorous 3-month ETS programs.

The women I met are determined to change the status quo, they are women of change, they know where they came from, they sacrificed a lot to become who they are and they are now paving the way for other women and generations to come.

It’s a privilege to be here in the making of this historic event and work with these women to fully empower them to pursue their highest vision, aspirations and ideals. I am confident that their vision, courage and determination will transform both the policy agenda for women’s economic empowerment and the role and condition of women in PNG and globally.”

Written by Hanna Yamir, Program Associate

Mark Your Calendars: EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace!

16 Oct

Sunday, November 24th
11am-5pm
The Whittemore House
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
(near Dupont Circle)

The event is not only a unique shopping experience for holiday gifts that support local women entrepreneurs and their businesses, but also a crowd-sourcing platform for engaging customers in providing ideas, connections and services to support local businesses. EWI’s goal is to harness the talents, creativity and networks of the Washington DC area residents and invest them in growing the local economy.

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Entrepreneurs will be marketing and selling hundreds of handmade gifts, fashion accessories, natural skin care products, games, fine art, home décor, baked goods, and specialty gift certificates.

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Artist Nadia Janjua will be there!

Guests will have the opportunity to meet 25 highly motivated women entrepreneurs and their micro-enterprises, hear their stories and understand their needs for growing these businesses. Guests will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas, services and contacts to help propel these start-ups forward.

All women entrepreneurs participating in this event have launched and grown their businesses with the help of EWI’s entrepreneur incubator, business coaching and mentoring programs.

We look forward to seeing  you there!

The Marketplace is co-sponsored with the Educational Foundation of WNDC.

Since 2002, EWI has helped more than 3,000 women rebuild their lives, establish careers and pursue the American Dream. Empowered Women International (EWI) is an award winning nonprofit organization that creates jobs and economic opportunity for immigrant, refugee, and low-income women in the Greater Washington DC Area. 

Save The Date for EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace!

7 Oct

Empowered Women International is excited to announce its 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace on Sunday, November 24th from 11am-5pm at The Whittemore House, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20036, near Dupont Circle.

There will be hundreds of unique handmade gifts, accessories, natural skin care products, games, fine art, home décor, baked goods, specialty gift certificates, and more, all created by EWI artisan entrepreneurs.

Gifts for Cause screen shot

This is our first public event showcasing top-notch women entrepreneurs who have launched and grown their businesses with the help of our entrepreneurship programs. You’ll meet the entrepreneurs, hear their stories, discover unique gifts for the upcoming holiday season and give the gift of empowerment with every purchase.

Mark your calendars! We look forward to seeing  you there.

Our New Logo: Redesign to Redefine

2 Oct

Last year EWI reached a milestone, celebrating ten years of accomplishments and empowerment! As the organization heads into its 11th year, EWI felt it was time to re-envision the empowered women.

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EWI marketing materials featuring the old logo

You may have already started to see the new logo on some of our announcements and marketing material and wondered what the story was to prompt the update. Here’s the story:

Throughout EWI’s history the logo has been a symbol of power, strength, vision, and opportunity. Although the old logo had received a tremendous amount of positive feedback over the years, as EWI grows and expands, we wanted to give the empowered women an opportunity to re-define herself as well.

As Marga Fripp, EWI founder, explained to me, “Stylistically, the old logo was created in a stamp-like form that did not posses many shapes. In the new logo, shapes and forms are highlighted in order to visually represent the empowerment in the women on the logo. This empowerment can be seen through the waves and movement in her hands and body – she posses a glow from inside because she is transformed in the way she appears. The stars in the logo have also been given an update. The logo has evolved over the years and Sharmila Karamchandani, ETS Lead Trainer & Volunteer Extraordinaire, added the stars about five years ago. The new logo provides color and meaning to the stars. The gold star represents the American dream of opportunity. The green star represents entrepreneurship and the blue star represents creativity.”

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The new and improved EWI logo!

EWI’s website will also be receiving a facelift! While speaking to Mary Louise Marino, I came to understand that the site has been evolving organically for years but recently it became apparent that it needed to be presented in a more streamlined, clear, and simple way. The new website is being created by Omni Studio and as Mary calls them, The Dream Team: Eileen Kessler (who’s also an ETS Mentor) Emily Rauch, Dillon Powel, and Elisabeth Harpe. It was also Omni Studio’s Dream Team that re-defined EWI’s new logo that captures so powerfully all women reaching for the stars and realizing their dreams. We want to extend a special thank you to them for doing such a fantastic job on updating EWI’s brand appearance!

EWI is excited to share our changing and evolving logo and our upcoming new website as our organization grows and expands. Stay tuned as we roll out more in the coming weeks and months!

Written by Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern

Marga Fripp Among Those Honored at Walker’s Legacy

25 Sep

In the early 1900s, Madam C. J. Walker carved a path for both women and African Americans with her philanthropy and relentless ambition in her entrepreneurial ability, becoming the first female self-made millionaire in the United States.

A century later, on September 18th, Walker’s Legacy hosted the first Business & Civic Leadership Awards designed to honor and recognize outstanding professional women who have demonstrated achievement in business and civic engagement.

The honoree panel (from left to right): Tecoya Gordon, Marie Johns, A' Lelia Bundles, Natalie Maderia Cofield, Maria Cardona, Marga Fripp, Ricki Fairley.

The honoree panel (from left to right): Tecoya Gordon, Marie Johns, A’ Lelia Bundles, Natalie Maderia Cofield, Maria Cardona, Marga Fripp, Ricki Fairley.

EWI’s Founder & President, Marga Fripp was one of the chosen speakers and honorees for the event. She was featured on a panel where she shared ideas, provided advice to young entrepreneurs, and further connected and promoted women in business, along with other distinguished women for their business endeavors.

The Walker Legacy honoree panelists included moderator Shelia Stewart, an award-winning journalist and host on Radio One. Others were Marie Johns, president of L&L Consulting and Maria Cardona, political strategist, CNN Contributor, and Principal at the Dewey Square Group.

At one point, Stewart asked the panel how they maintained their balance as women in modern day business. “While juggling family, responsibilities, and growing an organization,” Fripp replied, “I believe that I am a global women, and because of that, I have a responsibility to be level headed and act as one. Finding your center—whether mental, body, spirit, or business center—in every single circumstance is extremely important.”

EWI Board Melissa Reitkopp and Dianne Lorenz, with Marga Fripp

EWI Board Member Melissa Reitkopp and Board Chair Dianne Lorenz, and Marga Fripp with Bruno Mazali of Zoe Ventures, LLC

EWI would like to thank Walker’s Legacy for organizing such a special event and honoring exemplary women. EWI hopes to continue the connections made and share the wisdom presented to better empower women around the world.

Written by Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern

Flowers of Clementine

17 Sep

Mother, grandmother, and 2012 Entrepreneur Training for Success (ETS) graduate Clementine Simmons spent numerous years dedicating her IT services to the federal government. During this time, she also began to dedicate some time in fashioning floral designs and realized she was astoundingly gifted in it!

She took her talents to market, selling her works at craft shows and churches and to private individuals. With her success, she enrolled in the ETS program where, with the help of mentors and staff, she steadily improved her business structure and focused on reconstructing her brand.

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Clementine stands near floral arrangement

Through the recommendation of a close friend, Clementine sought out EWI for support and motivation. Clementine knew that this would be a great opportunity to become more business savvy and give her old business a fresh start, especially with a gang of EWI cheerleaders rooting for her every step of the way. She needed help developing a business plan and determining her target market, and EWI had the tools for her to do just that.

Clementine knows from experience that sometimes the most difficult aspect of building your own business is that inner voice of doubt. She stressed that regardless of any shortcomings or challenges faced during your journey, people in her shoes must not give up on themselves. She even stated that, “You should continue to press forward and improve on yourself as well as the product you are selling. Believe that as you press on and the right doors will open for you.”

Beautiful addition to the entryway!

Clementine delivers one her custom floral designs to Deborah Blank.

This epiphany is ultimately the reason she enrolled in the Grow My Business program. Clementine saw this course as another stepping-stone to success. In this program, she is placed in the position to challenge herself to expand her networks and forge partnerships with fellow business owners. She is also able to get advice and expertise from like-minded individuals.

Interested to find out how you can turn your talents into a business?

Applications for Fall 2013 ETS term are being accepted now! Classes are held in Alexandria, Virginia and Wheaton, Maryland starting October 21.  Openings still available for our Alexandria class. Scholarships are also available for qualified low-income applicants. For more information, click here to find out more and apply. You can also contact our office at 571-312-4781 and speak with Alexia Muchisu Wendel, Entrepreneurship Program Manager, or email her at alexia@ewint.org.

Written by LaNesha Kearse, Social Media Writer

Apply Now for EWI’s Business Training Course!

20 Aug
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Tenisha Campbell and Jane Mwinuku, Spring 2013 ETS graduates.

Have a business concept that you need help getting off the ground? Want to channel  and transform your talents into a sustainable, income-generating business? Don’t have the tools or know where to start?

Empowered Women International (EWI), an organization that channels the entrepreneurial drive and creative talents of immigrant, refugee, and low-income women, may have just what you need! Join the long-standing legacy of women who have enrolled in EWI’s Entrepreneur Training For Success (ETS) course.

ETS is an intensive three-month business start-up training program that helps prepare women like you to launch and grow their own micro businesses, through entrepreneurship training, mentorship, and business support services. Here, women receive individualized support from successful mentors and experts in their respective fields. They also have the opportunity to build life-long relationships and strong friendships with women with similar backgrounds while sharing their unique stories in a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

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ETS students discuss their businesses

Applications for Fall 2013 ETS term are being accepted now! Classes are held in Alexandria, Virginia and Wheaton, Maryland starting in mid October.  Scholarships are also available for qualified low-income applicants. For more information, click here to find out more and apply. You can also contact our office at 571-312-4781 and speak with Alexia Muchisu Wendel, Entrepreneurship Program Manager, or email her at alexia@ewint.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Written by LaNesha Kearse, Marketing & Communications Intern

Nishat Launches New Catering Website

14 Aug
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EWI Founder Marga and Nishat pose for photo

Meet Spring 2013 Entrepreneurship Training for Success (ETS) graduate Nishat Siddiqui. Nishat has turned her passion for cooking into a business. With thirty years of cooking experience under her belt, Nishat is sharing her family’s traditional and original Pakistani and Indian recipes. Nishat is really passionate about cooking and loves that the people she cooks for not only enjoy her food but also appreciate her hard work and effort. Prompted by her husband’s own health issues, she is now focusing her energies on using all natural ingredients in her scrumptious concoctions and providing services for her customers during the holiday seasons.

Even when faced with limited ingredients and strong dietary constraints Nishat still manages to create delectable recipes from scratch. Her private cooking lessons includes a three course meal with a dessert and wine. Coupled with a consultation, Nishat buys all of the groceries and brings them and instruction for families to enjoy.

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Nishat’s yummy Butter Prawns

Persuaded by the family-like nature of the program, Nishat dove head first into building her business plan to propel herself into the cooking industry and through the  ETS program. She was amazed by the dynamics of the program. Not only was the instruction extremely easy to follow, she felt very supported by readily available EWI staff, coaches, students, and mentors. “It’s kind of like being in a large family and I’m really happy and really thrilled that I joined EWI.”

She has recently enrolled in the Grow My Business (GMB) course seeing this new program as a great opportunity to continue networking with experts in her industry and receive stable support in the management of her business. She also mentioned how helpful her support has been from people, like Empowered Women International staff member Alexia Muchisu Wendel, who also have a background in the food industry in really helping her polish her brand.

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Nishat prepares a homemade dish

You can now learn more about her business by visiting her new website Nishat’s Kitchen or liking her Facebook page Nishat’s Kitchen Facebook Page. Have a special occasion or holiday gathering coming up? Not only can you see a preview of her delightful dishes you can also book her catering services and private cooking lessons!

Do you want to know more about our entrepreneurship programs? The Fall 2013 Entrepreneurship Training for Success (ETS) starts in mid October and we’re currently accepting applications. Click here to find out more and apply. You can also contact our office at 571-312-4781 and speak with Alexia Muchisu Wendel, Entrepreneurship Program Manager or email her at alexia@ewint.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Written by LaNesha Kearse, Marketing & Communications Intern

Paulette Mpouma, Following Her Passion

13 Aug

Meet Spring 2011 ETS alumni Paulette Mpouma. Paulette entered into the program with global ambitions following the invention of her African board game. Already successfully selling board games, Paulette needed organizational direction and the support of other exceptional women with similar hardships. She viewed ETS as an excellent opportunity for her to track her progress and meet influential and decisive people.

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Paulette and County Executive Ike Leggett pose for photo

Moved by her desire to educate people around the world, especially her children, about the marvels of Africa, she created a game to provide the safe space for individuals to engage in healthy dialogues about controversial topics such as race and world economies. But first and foremost, this board game was intended to help expel many of the misinformed and harmful stereotypes that so many in the Western world seem to have about Africa. Noticing that school curriculums in America were devoid of diverse perspectives and voices, Paulette created a game to make learning about Africa informative, empowering, and fun.

Paulette stumbled into EWI following her exhaustive search for a women’s support group. She craved an atmosphere that encouraged the building of strong relationships amongst like-minded women, emphasized the significance of cross-cultural competency, and understood the unique experiences of women living in a foreign culture.

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Paulette’s Afrique’enjeux board game

Now that she has successfully infiltrated international markets selling over 4000 board games worldwide, she is ready to take the next big step in her entrepreneurial career. Not only has she been working tirelessly to modify her existing products and introduce her new line of African inspired dolls to stores, she has enrolled in EWI’s new Grow My Business (GMB) course. She sees GMB as an opportunity to collaborate more effectively with experts who can help her focus her talents on the distribution, managing, and marketing aspects of her business. She is also extremely grateful to have a program that supports women beyond the developmental stages of their business; a program that will provide her with the knowledge on how to manage her time and resources more efficiently for her clients’ satisfaction.

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Paulette showcases her dolls

When asked what advice she would give to inspiring business owners like her, she stated “When you choose your product you have to have a passion for what you’re doing. You have to be convinced by your own product because then and only then can you fight for it.” She emphasized the need to create something fulfilling a personal passion and a societal need and discussed how ETS and GMB can help phenomenal women like herself do just that.

Support Paulette’s Test Your Africa IQ campaign! Help bring her learning tool to schools and global communities. A portion of the proceeds will go to funding the Children Diabetic Center in Yaounde, Cameroon! Visit Test Your Africa IQ Campaign now to learn more!

Want to know more about our entrepreneurship programs? The Fall 2013 Entrepreneurship Training for Success (ETS) starts in mid October and we’re currently accepting applications. Click here to find out more and apply. You can also contact our office at 571-312-4781 and speak with Alexia Muchisu Wendel, Entrepreneurship Program Manager or email her at alexia@ewint.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Written by LaNesha Kearse, Marketing & Communications Intern

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