Archive | February, 2013

Are you a natural entrepreneur, passionate about women’s economic empowerment, and looking for ways to give back?

28 Feb
Become an EWI Certified Entrepreneurship Trainer!

Become an EWI Certified Entrepreneurship Trainer for our award-winning business start-up incubator Entrepreneur Training for Success(ETS).
Through this intensive 3-month entrepreneurship training and mentoring program, participants learn to harness their talent, skill, creativity, and innovative ideas to build a successful business. They gain the necessary knowledge and skills in a supportive and risk-free environment, while benefiting from the support of an empowering network of women mentors, successful entrepreneurs, and marketing experts.


This is an exciting time for EWI as we are quickly expanding. We are currently looking for new talent to train more women through our Entrepreneur Training for Success.

About EWI women students:

EWI focuses on working with immigrant, refugee, and American-born low-income or at-risk women artists, artisans and other creative micro-entrepreneurs. Our women entrepreneurs launch micro-businesses in the following categories: arts, food, photography, music, design, fashion, games, beauty, fitness, health and nutrition, wellness, massage, education, after-school programs and a variety of other service areas such as cleaning, home services and more.

Many of these women have experienced traumatic life events, and additionally to being low-income may be suffering of depression or be survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault or war trauma. Despite all hardship these women encountered, they are incredible talented and skilled and have the determination to succeed.

Trainer Qualifications:

1) Previous experience in a business environment; ideally, having started a business
2) Appreciation of multicultural learners
3) Experience having conducted classes of some type (not necessarily an entrepreneur training)
4) Ability to commit to a schedule
5) Willingness to provide feedback to EWI
6) Enthusiasm for the entrepreneurial process
7) Great Interpersonal skills, and the personality and presence needed to engage the class.

Trainer Competencies:

  • Experienced classroom instructor – exceptional presentation and facilitation skills. Adept at making course content concrete with real life narratives. Able to facilitate classroom and group discussions while always keeping focus on course objectives. Adaptable to sudden classroom challenges with facility, technology, and student challenges.
  • Accomplished, results-driven, entrepreneurial leader with experience in either launching their own business, working in a start-up, or initiating new business lines or programs and/or in depth expertise in specific business area such as marketing, product development, pricing, business development or sales.

Additional strongly preferred competencies in one more or more of the following:

  • Experience mentoring, coaching, or providing other services to at-risk populations (e.g., low income, immigrant) that have many competing challenges and distractions in their lives.  Able to provide support with outside challenges while keeping students focused on ultimate goal of business plan and implementation.
  • Subject matter expert in the following businesses: arts, food, health/beauty, education, nonprofits/community organizers.
  • Deep personal drive to help at-risk women achieve economic empowerment.

Training and Certification Requirements:

  • Complete four-hour Train the Trainer Orientation Workshop on March 20, 5-9pm at EWI’s offices in Alexandria (this is mandatory)
  • Attend six or more classes April through June 2013
  • Present, at a minimum, one ETS classes during the program with experienced instructor observing
  • Facilitate small group activities and discussions during ETS program
  • Provide minimum 3-5 hours of one-on-one business mentoring to 3 or more ETS students
  • Present a business plan you created previously or by attending the ETS Train the Trainer and Certification Process

PLEASE APPLY IMMEDIATELY (no calls or email inquiries, please) by emailing in a single submission: a letter of interest, your resume, and names or letters of reference to

We have a quick deadline and plan to select candidates ASAP.

Currently Accepting ETS Applications!

27 Feb

Do you know an immigrant woman ready to make a living doing what she is passionate about? We can help!


We work with talented and high-potential immigrant, refugee and low-income women and help them monetize their creative or cultural assets, artistic abilities, knowledge and skills.

Perhaps you know someone who loves to bake, cook, make art, design clothes or teach your skills to others? Whatever her passion might be we can help turn it into business.

We are currently accepting applications and conducting intake interviews. The application is free and available online through the link below.

Tuition scholarships are offered based on need and merit to qualified women applying for our program. Learn more and apply now


Mariana Alvarado: My experience as a Graphic Designer Volunteer at EWI

27 Feb

Here with Mary, Alexandra, Marga, Perry, and one of the interns.

Mariana Alvarado: My experience as a Graphic Designer Volunteer at EWI

When I decided to go back to the work force after being a stay at home mom for 6 years, my strategy was to go back to school and update my design knowledge and technical skills. I gained a lot more than that: self confidence.

Ian y yo

My son Ian Emiliano is going to turn 8 in April.

After finishing a certificate program in Web Design in The Corcoran College of Art and Design in DC I felt prepared, but then realized that I needed to prove that I can be a valuable asset to any company, and decided to volunteer.

I found EWI by coincidence, or destiny. I come from an artisan family. My  father learned a solder technique from an Hungarian artist when he was 17 years old and worked for him making sculpture and jewelry for a couple of years before starting his own business. I have respect for artisans and appreciation for their work. I understand the challenges that immigrant woman, like myself, have to face in order to succeed in this country. I feel I found the right place for me to develop more skills and feel productive.


2012 Fall Graduation

I visited an ETS class in November and was pleasantly surprised by the energy of the ladies and advisors. Seeing the graduates so proud of themselves on their big graduation day was an inspiring experience for me.

I think empowering women to reach their full potential is a noble cause. I found working with Marga’s team of women very inspiring and empowering!

Need plans for your Tuesday night?!

26 Feb

Are you looking for an interesting way to rest this Tuesday night after a long day of work?

Well, look no further! Tonight PBS will be airing MAKERS: Women Who Make America, a documentary about the revolution in American history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy.

Watch MAKERS: Women Who Make America Trailer on PBS. See more from Makers: Women Who Make America.

Inspirational and leading women of America, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey share their memories, as do countless women who challenged the status quo in industries from coal-mining to medicine. It’s sure to be an uplifting, educational, and thoughtful documentary that we can’t wait to watch! So, pop some pop-corn, get comfy on your couch, and enjoy a night of empowered women sharing their stories… right in your own living room!

To learn more about MAKERS and when it will air, click this link to visit the website.

Onward and upward!

Coach’s Corner with Howard Feinstein

25 Feb

Coach’s Corner

By Howard Feinstein, EWI Board Member

A weekly blog for EWI students and graduates, passing along news, events, articles of interest, and tips on growing your business. We are all on this journey together, and no one – certainly not yours truly – has all the answers. Accordingly, I hope you will periodically contribute your ideas and news to this forum, c/o

Monday, February 25: This is the second of three posts on the basics of networking. Last time, we discussed business cards and websites. Those two critical items, along with the self-confidence that you will communicate to potential customers — because your business is also your passion – are your key tools at this point. Your friends, family, and colleagues probably know about your venture, have expressed their support, and perhaps have already placed orders for your product or service. These people should be acknowledged and thanked – they can help spread the word for you. However, this “instant network” will ultimately not be sufficient — you must take the next step and expand your entrepreneurial universe.


Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean transforming yourself into a door-to-door saleswoman, becoming a 24/7 living infomercial, wearing a name-tag, and joining every organization under the sun. Next week, we’ll review the four basic types of networks, and explain how you can decide which are most appropriate for you, and how to can engage them, painlessly! For now, let’s focus on certain habits that you need to develop: as we’ve previously discussed, what you are really selling is not so much your product or service, but yourself. Your main goal is to create long-term personal relationships which will result in repeat customers coming back to you again and again, because they feel comfortable doing business with you. Take it from an entrepreneur who started from scratch, without a clue: the old saying that over 80% of your business will come from less than 20% of your customers is true.

To cement these continuing relationships, certain characteristics are essential:

Reliability. Deliver what you have promised, every time. In fact – particularly at the preliminary stage when you are building your customer base — throw in a little something extra (this is known as “lagniappe” down in New Orleans). If the order is for a dozen desserts, make it thirteen. If you’ve contracted for a one-hour performance, make this first time an hour and a half for no extra charge. This distinguishes you from your competition. Make no mistake, in the capital region, your customers will have no shortage of options: make yours something special!


Timeliness. It has always baffled me, but punctuality remains the leading cause of problems in business relationships. Yes, there are always reasons for being a few minutes late to a meeting, or delivering services and products a day or two later than promised, but there are never acceptable excuses. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve have been kidnapped by aliens or your grandmother had to be taken to the hospital — that is your problem, not the customer’s, and they will turn to one of your ever-present competitors the next time. Being on time should not be a difficult task, and trust me, it is extremely important to customers in the fast-paced Washington area. In fact, this is an opportunity to really showcase your professionalism by being early. Deliver an order a day ahead of schedule, be the first bidder to arrive at a pitch meeting, and you will be amazed at the impression this creates.

Dress. Speaking of impressions, remember: this is the nation’s capital. We may be politically progressive, but we are relatively traditional socially. This is not Greenwich Village or Key West (I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Californian, so I had to make this transition myself!). Make it a point to dress a little more formally than the standard for your business area. Again, it is not that difficult, and it will set you apart from the competition.


Maintaining Contact. Sometimes networking means walking a fine line. You don’t want to be a pest (when was the last time you heard anyone complain of not receiving enough e-mails?), but you do want to remind people that you are out there, ready to serve their needs. The timing and method will differ, depending on your business. As a musician and writer these days, I don’t let a month go by without sending out a brief, straightforward e-newsletter, giving my schedule of public appearances; particular items I have for sale; and upcoming events to put on one’s calendar. Now, I understand that few people are going to brave NoVa traffic to see me perform at a restaurant in Annandale on a cold, rainy Friday evening in February, but what I’ve done is keep my name out there. This will — and I’m speaking from experience here — yield subsequent offers to perform at private functions, host book parties, etc. This is a key aspect of networking: it is generally not about making an immediate sale, but keeping the long-term relationship thriving.

Another example: every December, I send out holiday cards to everyone I do business with: this means venues, private hosts, fellow musicians and authors, suppliers, fans, former colleagues — everyone. The postage cost is minimal (and deductible as a business expense), and I have never failed to pick up some business, either directly or through a referral. The same goes for thank you’s. You might think it is standard to send a note (e- or snail mail) thanking your customer after each transaction, but believe me, it isn’t. This simple step tells your customers that you appreciate them. You will reap the rewards.

Join EWI’s BizCorps Team!

22 Feb

Love to Mentor, Advise and Coach Women Entrepreneurs for Success? Only have a few hours to give? We need your services!


  • Pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit
  • Demonstrated success in business and/or leadership
  • Passion for empowering women entrepreneurs
  • Cultural competency, empathy, and good coaching abilities

We’re looking for business coaches who have one or more of the following:

  • Business coaching or consulting experience
  • Entrepreneurial experience
  • Industry experience in any of the following: fine art, craft, performing art, photography, graphic design, web design, food, consulting, fashion, beauty, home-based business,
  • Functional experience in marketing, sales, social media, product design, strategy, operations, accounting, finance, business plan review

What kind of volunteers are we looking for?!

Business Coach Volunteers

Goal: Provide business advice and guidance to women students in EWI’s entrepreneurial programs to help them develop and launch a small business.

Financial Advisors Volunteers

Goal: Provide financial advice and/or feedback in business or personal finances including pricing products and/or services, record-keeping, tax preparation, cash flow, budgets, breakeven analysis, strategies to improve credit score and other financial matters.

Legal Advisors Volunteers

Goal: Provide legal business advice to helps women students in EWI’s entrepreneurial programs address legal aspects related to their business including but not limited to business registration and licensing, intellectual property, contracts and other matters.

Guest Speaker Volunteers

Goal: Share practical experience, knowledge and wisdom about the topic of discussion. Be open to share your personal experience, talk about failure, learned lessons, and success. Be willing to address questions from students and provide resources you are aware of.

Click here to read more about the responsibilities and roles of our BizCorps team.


Apply here to be considered for our Business Corps Volunteer Program.

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…

Join EWI’s Mentor Team!

20 Feb

Passionate about Empowering Women through Entrepreneurship? We need You!

The women chosen for entrepreneurship by EWI embody America’s promise that a better life can be created by anyone with drive and support.  For me, the support part happens on many levels:  business mentoring, confidence-building, and skills transfer.  As a former entrepreneur, I can channel my expertise and desire to “do good” directly into women’s futures. – Deborah Blank, Mentor

Without this class, my business plans would not exist. The coaches and mentors have been the best. They have been encouraging, motivating, and especially patient with me and work well considering that English is my second language and I don’t have formal education in business. -Maggie (Maggie and her mentor Deborah)

Mentors are vital to the success of our women entrepreneurs.

We are looking for mentors to serve in training programs in Alexandria, VA and Rockville, MD. Mentors provide guidance, support and encouragement to women students to help them develop and launch a micro-business.

Our students are talented and high-potential micro-entrepreneurs. Many are artists, painters, designers, musicians, dancers, weavers, bakers, chefs, and other creative social entrepreneurs.

Mentors Qualifications


  • Pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit
  • Demonstrated success in business and/or leadership
  • Passion for empowering women entrepreneurs
  • Cultural competency, empathy, and good mentoring abilities

Mentor candidates must have one or more of the following:

  • Mentoring experience
  • Entrepreneurial experience (owned own business, had leadership position at a business or worked in a family business)
  • Industry experience in any of the following: fine art, craft, performing art, photography, graphic design, web design, food, consulting, fashion, beauty, home-based business,
  • Functional experience in marketing, sales, social media, product design, strategy, operations, accounting, finance, and/or business plan review

Click here to learn more about mentor responsibilities and to learn how to apply for consideration to join our mentor team!

Chithra Jeyaram Selected with her Film Mijo to enter in PBS Online Film Festival

19 Feb
8201137230_3a0516c018Chithra Jeyaram is the founder and creative director of Real Talkies, and a graduate of our Entrepreneur Training for Success, Class 2012. She is an award winning documentary filmmaker who communicates the realities of life as it unfolds, focusing on nuances that cannot be dwelled upon or deliberated in mass media. Through her films she breaks societal barriers, builds bridges, changes attitudes and takes risks.


One of her amazing films, Mijo, an evocative portrayal of a mother and child’s intimate relationship in the midst of life altering medical events, was selected in the PBS Online Film Festival. Watch and vote for her film from March 4 through March 22; the film with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Chithra!!!

Mondays with Marga. It’s All about Love…

18 Feb

Today is about love; our unique ability to make the world a better place.

A chance to reflect once more on what makes us rise above ordinary… It is not about what we possess, but about what we give. The extraordinary actions we take everyday that change people’s lives.

And that’s just what we do. It’s all wrapped in love.


So, to this note, I want to add without writing a book that these past 6 weeks of the year (when you haven’t heard from me a whole lot) I have been everywhere along with our team making change happen.

EWI is growing by leaps and bounds, and as exciting as it is, it’s also incredibly intense and transformational in all ways.

We’re revising our core entrepreneurship curriculum and the schedule of classes based on feedback from our students, trainers and mentors. This took a little longer than we have expected, but we have some awesome new features in our training.

The revised entrepreneurship training offers more hands-on mentoring with industry experts, a more effective financial planning module and applied learning through guest speaker entrepreneurs, peer support and networking with successful entrepreneurs and women leaders.

Marga and Sushmita

We are also developing a new nine-month business accelerator program to support women entrepreneurs growing their micro-businesses. This program will include monthly group advising sessions with established entrepreneurs, financial advising, one-on-one business coaching, and micro-loan applications.

The ultimate goal is to help our graduates’ startups grow and go the distance. A business pitch contest will complete the program, and graduates will have the chance to win cash prizes to support their business.

As I write to you our team is busy interviewing amazing women for our Entrepreneur Training for Success starting in April.

If you know of an immigrant or low-income woman who wants to make a living working for herself, doing what she loves, send her our way. We provide scholarships for qualified low-income women. Read more and refer her to EWI.

1422We work with a wide community of talented and skilled creative entrepreneurs who start micro-businesses to support themselves, their families and communities. Some are entrepreneurs in art, music, film, food and the beauty industry, and others in education, business consulting, nutrition and wellness, cleaning services and other home based services.

These entrepreneurs are the backbone of our local economy, and their innovations, passion and dedication make the world a better place for all.

Read more in the next sections about amazing EWI entrepreneurs who break societal barriers through their work and inspire us all of us.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you supporting our journey to empower changemakers to act on their passion and skills.

Onward and Upward!

Marga C. Fripp
Founder & Chief Visionary
Empowered Women International

(originally published on EWI’s Newsletter 02/15/2013)