Help us secure $1,500 by December 31st so we can sustain our programs and expand our capacity to deliver services in 2012.

Dear Friends and Family,

Eight months ago, we were lucky enough to find our dream jobs working with Empowered Women International. (Shannon as the Program Manager and Erin as the Outreach Coordinator.) Each day we get work with a number of amazing women to help them channel their creative talents and entrepreneurial spirit and into a small business.

Right now things are really bustling at EWI. We have an amazing array of innovative projects coming out of the Entrepreneur Training for Success (ETS), an intense 3-month business incubator, and mentoring and training program for start-up women entrepreneurs.

Our current class of ETS is busy working away on their business plans and preparing for their graduation and business launch. In just the last 3 weeks alone, they have met with a group of bankers from Capital One, who volunteered their time to review students' business plans, and provide mentoring and advice. They also pitched their business to a panel of business experts and entrepreneurs.

As we're wrapping up this program and beginning to recruit students for the spring semester, we need your help to ensure we can continue to provide services to some of the most talented and promising low-income or at risk, immigrant, refugee and other women in need.

What is truly remarkable about these women is not only the quality of their work, but the circumstances in which these women launch new businesses.

A recent survey EWI conducted on its current students shows that:

  • 90% of the women served live at or below the poverty level.
  • 80% experienced domestic violence, sexual abuse, war trauma, and unemployment.
  • 70% have a higher education degree, yet they earn less than $25,000/year.

This discouraging reality requires innovative solutions to address the service gap and complex needs of the low-income, immigrant and refugee women in our community. One of these solutions is entrepreneurship and self-employment, the core service provided by EWI.

Take Tiffany for example. She is one of the students currently enrolled in EWI's entrepreneurship program. Tiffany came to EWI after she left her full-time position at the end of 2010 to start up her own tutoring company. The credit was maxed out, savings completely depleted, and she had less than $30 to her name. The tutoring company failed, and Tiffany was unemployed and lost hope, until she met EWI.

She was selected to enroll in the Entrepreneur Training for Success Fall Semester 2011 along with her business partner Bre, to launch a company that would sell her own designs in fashion accessories and beauty care.

"I feel that EWI's business program has provided a very holistic approach to entrepreneurship, that I hadn't experienced before in any of the other business courses I attended. All the planning, projecting, and charting in the world won't do any good if I am not also built up in the process. I highly valued having the mentoring and coaching available to me throughout this process.

At EWI, I was not only asked to learn to perform the technical tasks such as business planning, budgeting, marketing, etc., but I was asked to face my personal fears in order to grow and excel as a woman and a business owner. My most prized possession that I walk away with is a newly found confidence that I can carry with me in all areas of my life."

In less than three months, Tiffany and Bre have developed a strong product line, a solid business plan, an online shop and marketing materials to promote their business. They are now networking with boutique owners, sell their work through EWI's events and continue to work with EWI's staff and mentors to develop effective marketing strategies.

Thanks to supporters like you, EWI has helped more than 170 women like Tiffany and Bre since 2005 to start up their businesses, market their art and products, and stabilize their lives.

Thousands of more women in our Greater Washington DC Metro Area need our help urgently, and several women and groups working nationally and internationally have reached out to us and asked to teach our program to their communities. We can expand our program and reach all those women in need. But we need your help now to make this dream a reality.

Help us raise $1,500 by December 31st to ensure we reach our overall goal of $35,000. Your support will help us sustain our program and expand our capacity to deliver services.

Thank you for all you do to ensure EWI's growth and success for years to come. Together, we are creating jobs, building a strong community, and bringing women together to help one another succeed.

With lots of love,

Shannon & Erin

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