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Gifts & Giving for a Cause at the Holiday Gift Marketplace

20 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
The Whittemore House
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
(near Dupont Circle)


Ansen & Elsa
Elsen Oils

With modern products full of damaging chemicals that affect hair and skin, Elsa and Ansen longed to find safe products for their children. While researching products and ways to protect their children from these products, they discovered the many health benefits of oils in their natural form. Their love for their children inspired themto search for healthier options and their love for people inspired them to turn their new passion into a business.

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As Elsen Oils grows larger, Ansen & Elsa are looking to meet some of their needs. Do you know any retail buyersor chains? Can you or someone you know provide training and advice for contacts retailers? Come to EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Gift Market and buy some all-natural oils while also helping to continue the empowerment.


Clementine Simmons:
Clems Floral Design Gallery, LLC

Clemz Floral1

While Clem was growing up, she remembers her mother holding a very special love for flowers. Her mother always had flowers around and outside their home. The love for flowers held a special bond between her mother and her. Clem never realized how deep her passions for flowers went until she helped a friend create a floral arrangement. After realizing the true strength of her passion, her dream became to launch her own business. As Clem grows her business she is searching for connections and partners to take her company to the next level. Do you have a referral for someone in the hotel industry that can help Clem’s business get hired? Do you know a manufacturer who can help mass produce Clem’s gift cards and wall art to include in her packaging? Can you assist Clem in getting her Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) certificate? Come to the EWI Holiday Gift Market and meet with Clem while picking up a beautiful bouquet.


Cleopatra Magwaro:
A Season’s Assemblage


While growing up in Zimbabwe, Cleo constantly listened to stories told by her father and grandfather. While listening to these stories, Cleo was captivated and was left with a deep passion for literature. Her desire to recapture glimpses of her childhood and bring to life images and human connections led her to write her own anthology, A Season’s Assemblage.  Her goal is to educate people of the African experience. She is inspired by the people around her and hopes to reach as many people as possible through her stories. Want to help Cleo achieve her goal? Do you know and agent or a publisher who could help Cleo? Know anyone who could provide a grant to a way Cleo could gain funds to scan her books to publish onAmazon? Know potential clients interested in the African market? Do you know any other networks or NGO’s with an African focus? Come to EWI’s 1st Annual Holiday Marketplace and learn about another culture while making a change.


Rabia Pervez:

Silk’ n Paint

Rabia Pervez

Rabia Pervez

Growing up, Rabia recalls her constant fascination with colors and fabrics. While at home, she decided to start experimenting with various dyes and silk.This experimentation led her to creating an elegant yet striking garment that led her to learn and experiment with her art even more. Since this break through, Rabia has created a line of products ranging for cosmetic bags to pillowcases to jewelry leading to the creation of her line Silk’n paint. As Silk’ n Paint grows, Rabia has needsthat need to be met. Do you know somewhere or someone who can help Rabia sell her products in gift shops, gift galleries, corporate gift shows, and boutiques? Come to EWI’s 1st Holiday Gift Place and give the gift of empowerment this holiday season.

Free Admission

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

Written 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
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

Look Who’ll Be at the Holiday Gift Marketplace!

6 Nov

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 
The Whittemore House
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
(near Dupont Circle)

Mariam Mohamed
Bahari Creations

Miriam Mohamed

Miriam Mohamed

Tanzania native Mariam came to the U.S. with an independent and creative spirit.  She married her textile experience with her creative hunger to create handbags made from the East African fabric, kanga.  The handbags are as versatile and beautiful as the cloth they are made from.   In order for Mariam’s handbag business to prosper, she needs the expertise of a business minded individual like yourself, who would know how to help her copyright her designs and ideas.  Surely, someone knows a good supplier from whom she can purchase zippersScreen shot 2013-10-31 at 4.55.19 PM and closures.  Last, but not least Miriam could use a good marketing expert to help her package her handbags and sell them to boutiques and yoga studios.  EWI’s 1st annual holiday market is a great place to meet Miriam, see her lovely handbags and help her take her business to the next level.

Dinelles Sakyi


Dinelles Sayki

Dinelles inspiration for UnFORgettables came from sheer boredom during a pregnancy bed rest.  She created a diaper cake for her baby shower which resulted in others requesting her fun and lovely gift packages. Dinelles went on to expand her creativity for gift design to include holiday gift baskets

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 5.12.09 PMand  towel cakes.  UnFORgettables could soar to new heights if she could get assistance with setting up a website, serious investors and a solid business coach to build her entrepreneurial confidence.  Why don’t you stop by the EWI 1st annual holiday gift market to help lift Dinelles to new heights!


Michele Black & Kathy Kemerait
Mountain Bird Designs


Kathy Kemerait


Michele Black

An artistic duo on a mission to create with a purpose!  Meet Kathy and Michele,  two talented women who have put their ideas into action by collaborating with a fair pay textile manufacturer and are committed to partnering with eco-friendly American manufacturers in order to bring textile jobs back to Appalachia.   Using various mediums, to include textiles, beads, paper and clay, their art brings the simplest items to life. From their signature women’s business handbag to the holiday gift market promotional materials, their ability to artistically capture the true essence of womanhood is beyond amazing.  Though, what good is such rich and Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 5.15.25 PMincredible talent if it can’t be shared with the world?  Your connections to investors, high profile contacts and solid textile industry experience are where their art and your business savvy collides.   Let’s make Kathy and Michele’s artistic endeavors a successful business at EWI’s1st annual holiday gift market.

Free Admission

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

Written by Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern

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.

Sushmita Opens StudioPAUSE!

27 Aug

Sushmita poses next to her art

Sushmita Mazumdar, writer, book artist, educator and ETS 2008 graduate, is opening her new studio, StudioPAUSE, thanks to her recently funded Kiva Zip loan from supporters like you!  StudioPAUSE was created to provide a safe space for local artists and clients to engage in creative projects while expressing their own personal stories and challenging their own presumptions through art.

Sushmita described the process of applying for her loan to be exhilarating and empowering. People from all over the world were invested in her idea which gave her the boosted self esteem to really stand behind her business. “For the first time in my life I feel like a real business woman. I’m not just an artist working out of my basement anymore,” exclaimed Sushmita when asked how it felt to own her own studio. She is solely responsible for obtaining signage, contacting insurance companies, and other tasks crucial to running a sustainable business and to her that is truly incredible. While a little anxious about the outcome of the loan, she encouraged other women with similar goals to not let that fear stop them from trying.


Sushmita’s art, books, and paintings are moving to a much needed bigger space!

Sushmita will be holding two open houses under the theme of “Black and White and ….” for the Grand Opening on Saturday, September 14 (4-7pm) and her first CommunityPAUSE event on Saturday, September 21, (4-7pm). The new studio is located in South Arlington near I-395 and S. Glebe Road.

There will be fun activities, engaging presentations, and even more entertaining shows. These events are designed to give attendees an idea of how the space will be used, what type of projects will be offered, and much more! Attendees are encouraged to bring an item related to the theme for an exciting demonstration led by Sushmita.


“PEACE” folded book

Look out! Sushmita may be coming to a neighborhood near you. In the future, she intends to bring art to communities with limited resources. College campuses and the downtown corporate areas can expect to see Sushmita driving around with her ingenious ideas and even brighter personality.

Thank you for all of your support in helping Sushmita’s innovative idea come to fruition. EWI is thrilled to be a trustee of Kiva Zip so we can help women entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. To learn more about Sushmita’s work visit Handmade Storybooks and her new studio StudioPAUSE.

See you at the open house!

Written by LaNesha Kearse, Marketing & Communications Intern

EWI participates in Women and Wine

30 Jul

On Wednesday July 17th, EWI participated in the Women and Wine of Alexandria event in Alexandria, Virginia. Women and Wine is an organization that facilitates meetings with the larger community to discuss various contributions of local women to their communities over wine tasting. This event afforded EWI the opportunity to socialize, network with, and recruit like minded women to their Business Corps Volunteer Team.

Women from different arrays of businesses,  got together for a fun evening of networking amongst themselves as well as with a charity that serves the Alexandria area. EWI was the charity of their choice this month.  Recent alumna Charmelle Clark was able to showcase her work, network with potential clients and partners, and share her personal experience in the EWI program. For EWI’s Community Partnerships intern Virlen Reyes the experience was eye opening. “It really showed how versatile an individual becomes after putting our (EWI’s) skill set and life skills model into practice.”


Charmelle showcases her work

EWI Staff member Alexia Muchisu Wendel expressed satisfaction in seeing how, empowered, confident and successful of one of the  Entrepreneurs for Success graduate, Charmelle was at networking, presenting her business and selling her products at this event.  EWI is extremely thankful for their alumni’s investment in the program even after graduation. Their testimonial truly highlights the powerful and positive ways in which EWI has impacted their lives and ours.

EWI had an amazing experience at Women and Wine of Alexandria event and looks forward to participating in future events hosted by this organization.

Thank you for supporting Empowered Women International.

By LaNesha Kearse, Marketing & Communications Intern

Maggio + Kattar Founder’s Day Benefit a Success!

15 Apr

A huge thank you to Alix Mattingly, James Alexander and John Nahajzer of Maggio + Kattar for hosting a benefit to celebrate Empowered Women International and showcase our women micro-entrepreneurs.

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James Alexander & John Nahajzer

The event marks a milestone in our pursuit of building a community of givers and our mission to turn immigrant, refugee and low-income women into self-sustaining and thriving entrepreneurs.

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Marga & Steve Pattison of Maggio + Kattar

As firm believers in EWI’s mission and women’s potential to be the next business leaders, Maggio + Kattar , a prominent immigration law firm in Washington, DC, stood by our side promoting our work and supporting our women as they shared their  success stories.

Our entrepreneur graduates Velma, Aida, Mariam, Paulette, Nadia and Tacha were there to showcase their art and businesses, while Tacha and her band performed for all in the audience.

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Tacha, Mariam, Velama and Marga

The whole event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our donors, board members and volunteers. We are here because of your relentless support and contribution. We received many positive comments and also heard that many of you had ideas of communities, foundations and businesses we can partner with, and we welcome your referrals and introductions.

Last but not least a huge shout out to Pepco Edison Gallery for offering the beautiful gallery space and for tirelessly supporting us to host one of our many events.

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ETS graduates, volunteers and staff

We thank everyone who made it possible!

Maggio+Kattar Founder’s Day Benefit Honoring EWI

5 Mar

The benefit will highlight the work of
EWI graduates in the fields of the culinary arts,
fine arts, and music including:
Egyptian cuisine catered by Aida Mady
Fine art by Nadia Janjua
A global artisan marketplace

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!!!

Velma Crawford – Featured EWI Entrepreneur at the Micro-Business Lending Conference!

24 Jan

You may have heard her story before; in fact it’s tucked into every one of Velma’s aprons. With Velma, when you buy an apron you don’t simply receive an apron but the creator’s narrative as well. In “The Ties That Bind” Velma allows us to accompany her on a journey through her learning experiences with her grandmother, the poor daughter of an ex-slave who taught Velma the skills she uses to create her aprons, and her personal illness which was the catalyst to her apron creating.

This past Fall Velma took on another role alongside entrepreneur, and it was mentor. Velma joined EWI’s dedicated mentoring team and worked with two students in our Fall ETS course. Velma was able to share her own entrepreneurial spirit, lessons, and successes with her mentees who were excited to start a business of their own.

At the Micro-Business Lending: Landscape for the New Economy conference, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, VA on February 26th, you’ll also have the chance to learn about Velma’s passion and experiences as a businesswoman and how she has grown and flourished since the creation of Vee’s Ties that Bind.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to meet our dedicated graduate and EWI member, Velma Crawford, at the Micro-Business Lending conference, and be sure to register now!

Anyone interested to learn more about micro-business lending should attend, including representatives of micro lenders; small business support organizations; community and economic development and other public agencies; state and local officials.

Please click this link to learn more about the conference and register to attend. We hope to see you there!

This event is the result of a planning partnership with the Virginia Microenterprise Network, Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Empowered Women International, Virginia Community Capital and On Point Services.