(Feb. 28, 2018) Catherine Read interviews Sarah Bodley, Associate Director of Empowered Women International to talk about their organization that helps minority women in the United States start and grow their own businesses. Founded 16 years ago by an immigrant woman, they empower women in the Greater DC Metro area facing economic and social challenges, including immigrants, refugees, and Americans with low income, to become economically mobile, financially stable and socially engaged.
EWI helps immigrant, refuge and low-income women turn their creative or cultural assets, artistic abilities and skills into successful businesses. Many women lack the understanding of how to start and run a business of their own. Perhaps they don’t speak the language, or are not familiar with how to keep the accounting books, or handle their taxes. Empowered Women International has developed training programs, including mentorship opportunities, to help these women succeed beyond their wildest dreams.
In this first segment, Catherine interviews Zenib Cherkaoui, a Morrocan woman who immigrated to the United States in 2010 with her children, and spoke no English. She is a talented artist and thought about selling her artwork, but had no idea how to market or sell her products. She met a woman connected with EWI at her local mosque, became a student at EWI’s Entrepreneurship Training for Success program, and is now happily selling her artwork in galleries. This program gave her the skills she needed to have confidence and grow her business. Her company, ZenaArt based in Falls Church, is now thriving. EWI has established many successful relationships with community partners over the past 16 years. This network of businesses and organizations provide resources to help sustain the programming, teach classes and provide mentor opportunities to women.
In the second segment Catherine speaks with Maribel Rodriguez, owner of Marble Arch Gardens. Maribel’s business sells a variety of herbal remedies. Her story is unique because she started her business after retiring from the Army. She was always fascinated with her Grandmother’s knowledge of herbs and carried memories and stories from her youth in her heart and mind. She obtained her master’s degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health, with a Certificate in Herbal Studies, but had no practical knowledge of how to start or run a business. After completing the Entrepreneurship program, she will now graduate to the next class called Grow My Business, which provides more of a strategic focus.
EWI is excited to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th. They will be running special programming to help support the women owned businesses that they are helping to develop.
On March 7th from 6-8pm, EWI will be sponsoring a special panel discussion and networking event, including lessons and inspirations from female business leaders. The event is titled Pathways to #HerStory, and it will take place at WeWork in Crystal City. Click here for registration information.
On March 8th they will be hosting a marketplace on the George Washington University campus from 12-6pm where people can purchase products produced by the women-owned businesses that are part of the Empowered Women International network.
You can follow Empowered Women International in the following ways: