Tag Archives: women entrepreneurs

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


You’re Invited! Micro Business Lending Conference featuring Marga Fripp & EWI Graduates!

16 Jan

EWI Founder and President Marga Fripp

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond will be hosting Micro Business Lending: Landscape for the New Economy, a conference on micro development and micro business lending on February 25th and 26th and we want YOU to attend!

Empowered Women International’s founder and president, Marga Fripp, will be among a panel of speakers discussing  marketplaces for artists and she will host a panel discussion about Kickstarter.

Also in attendance will be several of EWI’s successful Entrepreneur Training for Success graduates and members of EWI’s Artist Marketplace program: Azeb Yilma, Velma Crawford, Mariam Mohammed, Clementine Simmons, and Lisa Jacenich. Marga will introduce and highlight these women entrepreneurs during the micro business reception on February 25th.

The conference will also feature a keynote presentation by author Michael Shuman, Fellow at Cutting Edge Capital; learning tracks on sustainability, funding, and technical assistance.

Who should attend?
Representatives of micro lenders; small business support organizations; community and economic development and other public agencies; state and local officials.

For more information about the event and to register, visit the registration page found here.
Please note there is a $65 registration fee.

The event will be located at:
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
701 East Byrd Street, Richmond, VA 23219

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.

EWI is a Power Partner for the Women’s Consortium Power Conference!

3 Aug

On August 30th, the Women’s Consortium will be holding what they expect to be “the largest, most relevant local women’s conference of the year”, and EWI will be represented by our Chair, Kate Campbell Stevenson, as a Power Partner at this exciting event!

The mission of the conference is to gather as many women entrepreneurs as possible in one place to facilitate information exchange and develop a network of like-minded individuals whose sheer numbers will inspire policymakers and others to help develop female-run small businesses.

The informational lectures and expo will be held at the Montgomery County Conference Center in the North Bethesda Marriott.  Attendees have the option of registering for the conference in its entirety or just the expo.  And in case you’re not at least a little bit intrigued yet, here’s a list of some of the lecture topics:

“Doing Business With Montgomery County”

“101 Ways to Generate Publicity”

“Make Your Place in the Global Supply Chain”

“Building an Advisory Dream Team”

Register here to be a part of this historic event! We’ll see you there!

Felt artist Lisa Jacenich on keeping creativity sustainable

25 Jul

What does is mean to create “sustainable” art? Today, the word appears everywhere from advertising to corporate policies, making it difficult to discern what it means and how we can live in a sustainable way in order to minimize our impact on the environment.  Innovative artists like Lisa Jacenich articulate what the term signifies for them by incorporating certain practices into their creative process, and lucky for us, Lisa was kind enough to take some time from her busy schedule to explain her interpretation of keeping creativity sustainable.

Jim, Geanina, Lisa, Alexandra, Perri – after a visit Lisa did to our office to introduce us to her new sustainable felt art

Sustainability = careful use of resources

Lisa found her niche working with wool thanks to a series of relatively spontaneous events, starting with her impulsive relocation to the mountains of Virginia accompanied by her husband and a dream to become an artist.  After helping shear sheep at a local farm one day, Lisa learned that the wool was destined for the dump and was astonished by the fact that such a versatile material was being wasted.  It was through this resourceful instinct that Jacenich started using the spare wool as a medium for her designs.  And her “waste note, want not” attitude carries on into every aspect of her artistic process.  Not only is her choice of fabric incredibly sustainable (the sheep aren’t harmed and can be used for meat, milk, etc.) but she also takes care to collect the materials left over from the felting process and reuse them later.  Lisa has also expanded her portfolio to include recycled and revamped sweaters.

One of Lisa’s creations …

Sustainability = careful use of energy

And not just any energy, but your own creative energy!  Lisa admits to her own inner struggle in sustaining her artistic energy, saying “it would be much more efficient to use the assembly line method,” however, rapid fire production would cause her to fizzle out much faster as well.  In order to recharge, Lisa varies her activities, sometimes switching from a creative task to a more administrative task if she feels low on inspiration.

In addition to her own sustainability strategy, Lisa has been invited abroad by the Mongolian government to introduce the felting machine she uses to take some of the physical work out of the process to small groups of women in order to develop their wool-making capacities and make their products more accessible to international customers.  While the machines don’t cut down the amount of time it takes to roll the wool, they would allow the women to redirect their energy to other areas of the creation process.

Lisa is now taking her sustainable felting process to Mongolia

Sustainability = careful treatment of others

Not only does Lisa visit her wool suppliers to ensure that they treat their sheep in a humane way, but the continuation of her business itself also depends on mutual respect between her and her husband and business partner, Jim Jacenich.  Fortunately, the two have different skill sets that compliment each other well in a business setting, but they also entered into the partnership already having worked together.  Based on this experience, Lisa advises any budding entrepreneurs to spend enough time with a potential partner to ascertain whether you would both be compatible.  In the end, says Lisa, a partnership is a relationship and “relationships are hard, you must work at them.”

EWI would like to thank Lisa for sharing her story and inspiring us to take better care of our world! More ore about Lisa and Jim Jacenich at http://www.artfulgifts.biz/

Marga Fripp Reflecting on Entrepreneur Graduates Class 2012

12 Jun

… At the heart of every desire is the desire to feel good. And so, the standard of success in life is not the things or the money, but the amount of joy you feel. – Esther and Jerry Hicks

The amount of joy I feel as our 20 micro-entrepreneur women completed their business incubator program and are ready to launch their businesses is immeasurable.

The process was complex and many students had to face their fears right in the eyes. Besides battling medical challenges, financial and emotional crisis, doubt was probably one of the most challenging of the fears.

Would they actually be able to turn something that for the most part of their life was “a hobby with passion” into a business? Would their dreams finally come true despite all realities of not having a steady income, or in some cases a place of their own? Would they have permission to continue to pursue their aspirations after the program?

Four months is not a long time, yet it is enough for women to learn, grow and blossom; forge new friendships, rebuild confidence and develop a renewed sense of possibility.

But then, will they find the right niche, the marketing pitch, and the clients who would love buying their products again and again?

Every step of the way, our trainers, mentors and staff – ensured our women kept on moving on, pursuing their dreams with no compromises. The ultimate goal of this program, beyond the business side – is the journey of self-discovery, learning, and embracing others.

All women graduates are changemakers – women who not only are in business to support themselves and their families, but to give meaning to other people’s lives.

“EWI has led me on a journey of self-discovery, through education, mentoring and empowerment. The program allowed me to gain a clear vision and realization of what I want to change in my own life, as well as what I can do to change the world we live in. One person can make a difference in a community, but a community as a whole can make a significant impact across the world.”  Valerie Fair, Graduate 2012, Owner of Fair Consultants

I take joy in seeing these women reaching new heights, and I can’t wait for all of you to meet them on June 23 at the graduation reception.

You too will be proud, empowered and inspired! Thank you for all your support.

Onward and upward!

Marga Fripp
Founder and President
Empowered Women International