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Creatively Charming Goes to Kansas!

10 Dec
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Charmelle with new friends and future entrepreneurs

In early October, Charmelle Clark, founder of Creatively Charming, and her mother set out on an ambitious five day road trip to Wichita, Kansas. As one of two speakers, Charmelle was invited by Agape Ministries at Grace Presbyterian Church to address issues of domestic violence. The mission was not only directed at survivors of domestic abuse but also at young women around the age of 18 to raise awareness in order to prevent more victims of domestic abuse.

When Agape Ministries reached out to EWI asking for a women to speak about overcoming domestic violence through entrepreneurship, Charmelle proved to be the perfect candidate. Charmelle jumped at the opportunity to share her experiences and empower others. This gave her the motivation to drive 19 hours to Wichita (but a drive she is likely to never want to do again)!

While at the event,  Charmelle met with several women and spoke to them about her journey to entrepreneurship and inspiring a new partnership. “We created a connection between women in both areas”, says Charmelle. “We talked about ideas to implement a program similar to EWI’s in Kansas to help empower women in the area.” Charmelle spoke about the desire to create an annual conferences between women here and in Kansas to promote empowerment and entrepreneurship.

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Charmelle in front of Grace Presbyterian Church

When asked if she found the trip successful she replied, “If you reach one, you make one achieve.” Charmelle and EWI hope to continue reaching women nationally and internationally to continue empowering women.

Charmelle also explained how important it is for alumni and current members to use the EWI’s resources and network. “People need to maintain that connection because it is an active, growing network and EWI is behind you 100% to make sure you succeed.”

Thank you, Charmelle! We wish all women entrepreneurs, here and in Kansas, inspiration for continued empowerment and the means for overcoming domestic abuse.

By Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern

Shopping & Empowering at EWI’s Holiday Gift Marketplace

12 Nov

Look who will be at EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace!

The marketplace is a unique shopping experience for holiday gifts and  a crowd-sourcing platform for engaging customers in providing ideas, connections and services that support local businesses.

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

Charmelle Clark
Creatively Charming

charmelleNo stranger to unconventional creativity, Charmelle Clark has been creating since childhood.  Using her imagination to create items ranging from scrapbooks to cross stitching, there is not a creative thought that goes undiscovered!  Charmelle has used her self-taught gift to start Creatively Charming, a customized stationary and scrapbook business.  The artistry placed into each handmade item is a gift within itself, so what is needed now is the gift of business resources to assist Charmelle with moving forward.  9319316889_b11075dda3An art studio that gives Charmelle a space to work freely and even hold workshops would be much appreciated. Assistance with marketing techniques and website development would do wonders. Or being connected with art festival organizers would put Creatively Charming on the right track! EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace is the perfect time to purchase Charmelle’s beautiful stationary and offer your resources!

Kudzai Gombakomba
KG Spotless LLC

KudzaiWith a degree in hospitality management under her belt and vast experience in the hospitality industry, Kudzai Gombakomba started a cleaning company that would challenge the standards of even the most discriminating clientele!  Kudzai has international experience from Zimbabwe to London and is excited about sharing her expertise through KG Spotless LLC.  Equipped with the basic business skills learned through EWI’s entrepreneur courses, she is ready to expand upon those skills in order to continue building a solid business.  If you could assist KG Spotless LLC with marketing endeavors such aKGSpotless logos website maintenance and designing gift vouchers, then please come out to EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace to help Kudzai further her path to financial freedom.

Caryn Reitkopp
Paws for Peace

CarynMeet Caryn Reitkopp, a lover of all living things. Not only does she love animals, but she loves children and teaching. Her desire to connect these passions in order to make the world a more humane place fueled the creation of Paws for Peace. Paws for Peace use animal themes and puppets to teach children compassion. Through the use of literature, puppets and classroom songs, Caryn has created a business that will teach kids how to appreciate and respect others in the world.  Caryn offers direct classes, parent workshops and teacher workshops and she would love to take her business to new heights with your help.  Caryn Paws for PeaceEntrepreneurial skills such as business accounting, web and blog design as well as solid marketing tracking methods can elevate Paws for Peace. EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Marketplace is a great way to connect with Caryn and find out just how useful your skills can be.

Free Admission

Let us know you’ll be there and RSVP NOW!

Written by Veronica Hughes, a freelance writer with a passion for global women’s issues and social justice. You can learn more about her over at her blog, Lifestyle and Thoughts

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

Our First Kiva Zip Loan with Sushmita Mazumdar

24 Jul
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Sushmita shows off her art

Meet 2007 ETS graduate Sushmita Mazumdar, EWI’s first Kiva Zip Loan borrower. Kiva Zip is an organization that creates opportunities for business owners and potential supporters to make financial assistance more affordable and accessible. Those that want to support business owners can contribute their resources and expect to get them back upon successful payment of the initial loan.

Sushmita left the advertising industry upon discovering her passion for hand crafted illustrative storybooks and uniting people from illustrious cultures around the world. When asked how she intended to teach people about cultures different from her own, Sushmita amicably responded, “You don’t have to be from the culture to help people learn about their heritage. You just have to help people appreciate and celebrate their differences.” Propelled by her desire to teach her son about his heritage, her country’s festivals, rituals, and history are brought to life through her story telling.

Two of her signatures include making books into objects and making words graphic. On display in her current workspace is “Looking for Presidents,” a book about an immigrant woman who has never taken an America class. Tied together by a U.S. flag concept, each element of the book has significance. Whether its Roosevelt’s conservationism prompting her to print the book on recycled paper or leaving empty pages for readers to tell their own stories, Sushmita makes books engaging and interactive.

Sushmita’s goal is to raise $5,000 to open her own Studio PAUSE. Here, individuals will have the space to be creative while exploring art and writing and celebrating community. Classes are designed to be affordable for diverse populations.  Local artists will have an outlet to communicate about their art as well.

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Sushmita displays her story book

Sushmita has taken on numerous projects, including her work with the Refugee Youth Project and her “Tell Your Story Make Your Book” class series that she performs in schools, community centers, and the Smithsonian museums. We can also look forward to “Books Around the World,” a series that exposes children in the D.C. metropolitan area to book making and story sharing techniques from around the world.

Sushmita showed her immense gratitude for EWI explaining that without their support and  understanding of her complex identities as an immigrant and a mother, her dreams of opening her own business may not have come to fruition. We are truly enthused to support such an exceptional woman who has really exceled in her trade.

Are you excited about Sushmita’s goal to open her own studio? Help Sushmita get her Kiva Zip Loan by visiting Sushmita’s Kiva Zip Loan!

Thank you for your continued support of Empowered Women International.

By LaNesha Kearse, Marketing & Communications Intern

Thank You Hanna!

18 Jul

Hanna Yamir came to EWI as our Program Associate Intern this past spring and we had the pleasure of her company and dedicated work for only four short months.  While she confessed to having limited office experience in her interview, she was sympathetic to our clients’ experiences as an immigrant herself and passionate about women’s issues. What we saw an empowering woman in our midst, and that she became. Not only excelled at any project we gave her, she blossomed into a confident person showing leadership and initiative. By the end of her internship, she was the go-to person for writing our blogs and developed on her own our first ever ETS Standard Operations Manual!

We asked her to write something about her story and what her internship experience was like at EWI.

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Hanna Yamir, Sharmila Karmachandani, Marga Fripp, and Mariana Alvarado

“Originally from Ethiopia, I graduated from an Italian school, where for years I was thought to learn and speak Italian & English. I took up different professions as administrative assistant, librarian, and translator, which allowed me to gain experience in the diplomatic exchange and bureaucratic relations between the Ethiopian and Italian Governments. While my family expected me to move to Italy to continue college, their expectations where pleasantly cut short when I moved to the U.S. in 2007.
I immediately immersed my self in the system and within four years got my Associate Degree in Political Science from NOVA, and B.A in Foreign Affairs from UVA. While studying abroad in Italy in 2011 I got the chance to meet and chat with educated but unemployed women, and also children of immigrant and refugee backgrounds.  The experience opened my eyes on the realities of immigration in Italy, which made me appreciate more my life in the US, but I also developed a personal passion for immigration and poverty eradication issues especially among women. This fall I will be starting graduate school for a master in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.

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At the Entrepreneur’s Graduation: Hanna, Jay, Marga Fripp and ETS Alumni Clementine Simmons

Coming to EWI as a Program Associate intern was a life altering experience. Not only did I get to know the most wonderful people imaginable, but also learned a hands on approach on operational and managerial procedures in a non-profit such as EWI. I developed skills in the application of theory to practical work and enhanced my knowledge of EWI’s responsibilities, goals, principles and activities. I was given a platform to demonstrate my abilities and skills, which not only boosted my confidence but also sharpened my leadership and managerial skills. It was overall an extremely rewarding experience, and as I embark on my next journey I will be nostalgic of the office, staff and everything EWI stands for. Thank you all for empowering me and showing me the highway towards success!”

“Still Sassy After Cancer” Gala

5 Jun

We are proud of our ETS alumni Jane O. Smith who is launching Still Sassy After Cancer” Gala on Sunday, June 16, 2013 from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm in Germantown, MD.

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Jane O. Smith founder of "Still Sassy, LLC."

Jane O. Smith founder of “Still Sassy, LLC.”

Jane is a breast cancer survival and seasoned communications specialist. She founded “Still Sassy, LLC” to helps clients who are living a “new normal” due to health or cultural shifts, to renew and re-launch with delight. This event celebrates the spirit of National Cancer Survivor’s Day – and brings joy, smiles, laughter and encouragement for all who are touched by cancer.

Please come celebrate the National Cancer Survivor’s Day and join Jane and all of the strong extraordinary women who they or loved ones have been affected by breast cancer. To register click here.

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Kudos to Kathy Kemerait for her Art Collection of Empowered Women!

16 Apr

Artists, Kathy Kemerait and Michele Black of Mountain Bird Designs Raise Funds to Empower Women!

A heartfelt thank you to Kathy Kemerait for allowing us to use one of her wonderful artworks in our Spring2Action April 17 Day. We are so excited about how the campaign turned out that we want to share her powerful art with you all.

Kathy’s artistic style is a unique combination of free flowing whimsy and a joyful spirit unbound by convention. Her reverence for the natural world and her respect for the feminine spirit are reflected in her art.


Her creative energy flows freely from her imagination without constraint in a seemingly endless stream of delightfully intricate and loving details that appear in each of her wonderously unique creations. Kathy and her business partner, Michele Black, are proud to announce the launch of their new business, Mountain Bird Designs.

Mountain Bird Designs offers a variety of pottery, drawings (originals and prints), handmade and one of a kind business and travel bags, all of which may be purchased through EWI.

Mountain Bird Designs is located in Western North Carolina.

“Unseen Leaders” Spark Conversation & Create Change

2 Apr

Event Details: “Unseen Leaders of DC”

Where: Policy, 1904 14th Street NW
Washington DC

When: Wednesday, April 17
from 6:30-9:30 pm

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Partnering with #SocEntDC, DC+acumen is honored to present the first “Unseen Leaders of DC” panel event. This exciting evening will highlight 5 innovative social entrepreneurs in the Washington, DC area, all of whom aim to inspire positive change within the local community via social business.

Velma Crawford, founder and creator of “Veez Ties That Bind“, will represent EWI as a panelist. She brings to the panel wonderful insight and experience with EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success program as a former student and graduate.

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These social entrepreneurs may not currently be in the public eye, but they certainly deserve the spotlight for their efforts to create an impact in the city in which we all live.

As a chapter, DC+acumen aims to spark conversation about the local effort to create change. This event will be an open dialogue with the opportunity to hear from the panelists, ask questions, and interact with other attendees. We promise you will walk away motivated to pursue your own wildest ideas and have a stronger sense of the community that exists in DC.

Admission:

Price of admission includes extended happy hour food specials until 8 pm, $3 to $5 drink specials until 9 pm, specialty cocktails, music by DJ Kyle Knauff and more. All proceeds will go towards Acumen Fund.

Agenda:

6:00 PM     Doors open

7:00 PM     Panel begins

8:30 PM     Post-panel Happy Hour co-hosted by #SocEntDC. Free for all #SocEntDC members and  partners.

Moderator

Hanae Baruchel, Venture Director at Ashoka

Panelists

Brian Carome, Executive Director, Street Sense

Christopher Bradshaw, Executive Director, Dreaming Out Loud

Alia Peera, Site Director, BUILD

Velma Crawford, Founder & Creator of Veez Ties That Bind & Entrepreneur Training for Success Graduate,  Empowered Women International

Where in the World is Shannon? She Takes Business and Travel to Another Level…

21 Feb

Shannon & Marga

Many of you know Shannon as our amazing former Program Manager. About 9 month ago Shannon and her fiancee decided to travel the world, teaching English as a second language and pursue many of their passions.

But traveling was not enough for Shannon. She wanted to travel and make a living while inspiring others to pursue their own passion for travel. So The Life Aventurista was created… We’re so proud of you, Shannon!

  
“I started The Life Adventurista in November 2012, because when Eric and I were first making our plans over a year ago, so many people contacted me and told me they wished they could live life the way we are. They just didn’t know how or think it was possible. I’ve spent the last six years teaching women how to start things – grassroots campaigns, nonprofits, and businesses, so I thought why not help more women start a business doing what they love so they can live life with more adventure and freedom. I love this work because it combines all my greatest passions and I love being able to work with so many incredible women.” Read more…

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