Over the last three months, 21 incredible women have been hard at work in the Entrepreneurship Training for Success (ETS) program. After a tremendous amount of work and dedication, these empowered women will be graduating this weekend, along with the Fall 2013 ETS class and Grow My Business 2013 classes.
Meet these truly exceptional women at the Entrepreneur Graduation & Business Showcase. Find out more here!
At Meet & Greet earlier this year
Alex Codrea, Bridges
“The strong women in the ETS Program are the inspiration behind Bridges. EWI has helped me by giving me a opportunity to do great things and to be part of a movement that changes peoples life. EWI gave me the power and confidence to succeed.”
Angela Bell, Ravish and Rave, Conscious Beauty
“I was inspired to start my business by a search for translucent powder that matched my ‘hard-to-match’ skin tone. I wanted a product that was eco-friendly, socially conscious, and free of the harmful ingredients that are in most commercial cosmetics like lead, phthalates, parabens, etc. My daughter also has has issues with extremely dry skin and nothing short of steroidal creams worked for her. That’s when I decided to do extensive research on how to create my own all-natural/organic health and beauty products; hence the birth of Ravish & Rave, Conscious Beauty!”
Brenda Marcial, The Pampered Pooch
Brenda has loved and owned dogs for the last 30 years of her life. She has been caring for other people’s pets for three years now, and she was inspired to enroll in EWI’s ETS Program to take her hobby and passion to the next level.
Deborah Brown, D’s Balm
As an experienced health community activist, Deborah has sold her holistic and natural products in Washington State. Now, Deborah is inspired to continue her work in this field in the DC Area so that all can benefit from products that are genuinely good for you.
Dominique Verella, Embellishment
Embellishment was inspired by a passion for making people happy. With decorating, Verella brings beauty to her client’s everyday environment. She says, “Making things nice is part of my life.”
“EWI turned my business into more than a hobby. Business has procedures, rules. Success in business is more than passion, it is discipline, it is determination, it is being clear.”
Jennifer Y. Okosun, Fashion SPAZZ
Jennifer began her journey when she heard about the Black Fashion Museum from a friend. Having never heard of the museum, Jennifer started to research more about Blacks in the history of the fashion industry and was surprised to find very little. After reaching out to others on the issue and discovering that they were equally uninformed, Jennifer saw a need in the market to start her own business.
“With all the talk about creating more diversity in the fashion industry today, I thought it would be a great idea to create a blog for professionals of color in the fashion industry as a resource to learn about their history, understand the business side of fashion, explore fundraising options, and create a platform where they will be embraced.”
Kelemua Desta, KelemArt Studio
Having graduated from University of Addis Ababa Fine Art School, Kelemua is inspired to continue practicing art through oil paining, wood, gourd, water color, jewelry, and various other mixed media.
“I never had the means to sell my art; I had the products, but no knowledge of how to do business. When I came across EWI, with the recommendation of a friend, I saw a way to get that knowledge that I needed, which inspired me to start a business from what I already had.”
Krystal Simmons, The Gumbo Stand
Krystal is originally from Baton Rouge and loves cooking. She was inspired to start her own business to expand her reach, move into a commercial kitchen space, and to keep making delicious gumbo!
Larnies A. Bowen, Livitity Drink Co.
Interested in the food industry, Larnies is joining forces with her sister, Sade, to grow a smoothie making business where she reuses “blemished” food from grocery stores to make delicious, raw smoothies.
Loredana Calin, Creative R We
Loredana has been inspired by those around her; Sushmita Mazumdar, former EWI Graduate and owner of Studio Pause, who showed her that she too can own her own small business. Additionally, Loredana’s son Stefan has led her to explore the therapeutic benefits of origami, which he has been pursuing for three years.
“EWI believed in me, and gave me the chance to learn, to develop, to blossom. I am enrolled in a really well thought and devised business course, the Entrepreneur Training for Success, which teaches you how to build a proper business. This course has a business component, and two financial components, and it is perfect for small enterprises. EWI has a great support system, through mentors, through monthly seminars and workshops, through constant feedback from peers. I am deeply grateful for the chance I have been offered by EWI, and I feel very proud to be part of this wonderful organization.”
Marielle Barrow, Caribbean InTransit
“I was inspired to start my business to help the many talented young people who would face the same challenges that I encountered. Having taught at art at high school, primary school, kindergarten level and to adults, I know the beauty that people are capable of producing. These creative expressions bring joy, a sense of exploration and fulfillment to their creators bolstering their confidence and energy for life. I was not encouraged to do art because our Caribbean community did not have the infrastructure to support the arts as a career. However, unless I express myself creatively, I am without joy, I feel completely lost, hopeless even. I am determined to help create an architecture for this alternative career path as their are so many who are like me.”
Mariana Alvarado, Solstice Mexican Jewelry
Mariana is passionate about design. From an early age, she experienced jewelry making, as her father designed and produced his own brass jewelry line. The creative process of sketching an idea on paper, cutting the material, melting the metal to shape it, and seeing the finished piece for the first has been the most exciting journey!
“EWI represents for me an inspiration and a support system. The experience of meeting ETS alumni made me realize I could make my project a reality too.”
Pauline Muchina, Future African Leaders Project/ Nakuru Beads Initiative
Pauline decided to go into business to support her community, to be self-reliant, to provide education for her children, and to provide an income for the women who handmade the purses and products that she sells. She is working towards breaking the cycle of poverty by enabling women in her community to participate in the global market through the sales of their handmade products.
Rae Roach, Women Helping Women Retreats
“After having my world crumble around me due to a devastating divorce along with trying to raise my 2 young boys by myself, I came to realize I had ‘lost’ me in the process. My boys are now 19 and 21, both amazing young men, and as I began the search to find myself I saw I was not alone in this journey. I truly believe I have a voice and a message that will help, guide, inspire and motivate women to stay true to themselves while navigating the roadblocks life throws at us.”
On the topic of EWI, Rae shares, “Being involved with such an incredible organization as EWI has literally forced me to look at my truest desires and aspirations and has given me an opportunity and forum to explore and essentially make them a reality. Basically, I have found me!”
Rana Jaafar Yaseen, The Flavor of the Universe
“I am inspired to share my story with the people all over the world to completely heal myself and to show how it is possible to transform tragedy into creative things like poems and artworks that help to rebuild the self-esteem again. My journey has taught me that creativity is a healing; a challenge isn’t something impossible to handle but it’s the opportunity to create. The power is within, and the sun can always be created. Nothing can stop us when the heart starts singing and everyone has the song inside.”
Rita Washington, Voice Talent Innovative Voicing
Having inherited the entrepreneurial spirit from her grandfather’s side of the family, Rita was inspired to start her own business for the desire to be her own boss and love for problem solving.
“EWI has been a beacon of light, making it very clear what each of my next steps should be. It has helped me to write down the ideas in my head in a systematic way, to have them organized and at my disposal to implement at the right time. Now I have a full vision of where I want my business and my personal life to go. I feel more confident than ever before about reaching my goals, and being profitable and successful.”
Rose Ahui, African Market
Originally from the Ivory Coast, Rose has been inspired by the cultural products of Africa.
Rose Solomon, Botswana Baskets
Rose comes from a small, peaceful country in the southern part of Africa. Her passion for business started when she was a little girl helping her grandmother in the fields and helping her sell her watermelons. In May 2012, she attended an Open House at her embassy where different basket designs were used as decoration. When Rose saw how many people were interested in purchasing the baskets, she was inspired to start her own business selling them.
Sade Bowen, Livitity Drink Co.
Interested in the food industry, Sade is joining forces with her sister, Larnies, to grow a smoothie making business where she reuses “blemished” food from grocery stores to make delicious, raw smoothies.
Vanessa Landau, H.E.R.O.E.S.
In answering what inspired her to start her business, Vanessa says, “Loved ones, friends and allies have commented on the courage, perseverance and self-advocacy that I have shown in the course of a difficult life. I would like to reverse my experience and resiliency strategies to shoo away others suffering and facilitate their cultivation of resiliency.”
We are so excited to see all that you accomplish.