What Makes Us Different?
The women we serve …
EWI is the only organization in the Greater Washington DC Metro Area that exclusively serves and empowers women – immigrant, refugee and low-income or at-risk. We help women rebuild their lives and livelihoods by launching and developing careers and/or businesses based on their unique passions, talents, skills, and cultural assets or experiences.
EWI uses the power of creativity, the arts, and women’s stories to transform their lives and livelihoods and build multicultural understanding. We help women integrate into the community and recognize their contribution to the fabric of our society.
The approach we take to change lives…
EWI delivers a holistic model of empowerment through entrepreneurship training, mentoring, personal growth, and community service that builds women’s confidence and leadership skills. Our comprehensive three-month entrepreneurship training coupled with follow-on business coaching, access to markets and networks and support services help entrepreneur graduates create pathways to self-sufficiency and citizenship.
EWI’s empowers the whole woman, not only teaching her the skills she needs to launch and grow a business, but using positive mentoring, public speaking and confidence building classes, and peer-to-peer relationships to help women rebuild self-esteem, leadership skills and become engaged members of our community. Graduates of our programs not only become entrepreneurs, but changemakers in their communities giving back to other women, children and communities in need.
The businesses our women build …
EWI women micro-entrepreneurs contribute to a sustainable local economy and planet. Many launch micro-businesses in the arts, food, creative industries, education, wellness and the social sector.
Despite the challenges they face, these women are innovative and relentless. They create businesses that solve community problems, generate innovative products, produce locally made food and teach, re-cycle and “up-cycle” products into art objects, and design local clothing, fashion and accessories. All these micro-businesses create a stronger and more sustainable local economy, a thriving creative industry and a fertile ecosystem for female entrepreneurs.
We believe the arts and immigrant women’s cultural heritages are extraordinary assets and means for helping them integrate in a new culture, develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and establish a foothold in their new community and the labor market. Art has an inherent capacity to bring people together and act as a platform for dialogue, tolerance building and multicultural understanding. Art has a demonstrated multiplier effect that engages people in community building, education and cross-cultural dialogue about local and global issues.
Why a Tailored Service Model?
We recognize that immigrant women typically face multiple challenges to achieve economic self-sufficiency and civic participation. Since not all needs are “tangible,” efforts at facilitating economic and self-empowerment must be balanced with effective services addressing the many cultural and personal factors affecting immigrant women’s integration and success.