Empowered Women International (EWI) is a local nonprofit serving immigrant, refugee and American-born women in the Washington D.C. area to support and promote their entrepreneurial endeavors. EWI’s work focuses on empowering low-income and vulnerable women, who have often faced personal or socio-economic hardships, to become financially literate and self-sufficient. In 2016, the Nonprofit Village recognized EWI for its unique approach, at its annual Making a Difference Awards.
With the award-winning umbrella program Entrepreneur Pathways for Women, EWI offers three different options for women: Entrepreneur Training for Success, Grow my Business, and Entrepreneur Support Services. The women who go through EWI’s program receive a personalized teaching program that caters to their specific needs, whether it is growing an existing business or getting one off the ground.
The Entrepreneur Pathways for Women is composed of three key elements:
- Training in skills and knowledge
- Coaching and peer’s mentorship opportunities
- Network of social and business services
Empowered Women International takes a unique approach to support their target population achieve success as entrepreneurs. This approach is centered on a holistic methodology by giving these women the tool of entrepreneurship. Going beyond providing just knowledge, their program allows women to workshop their individual ideas with other women in the program, as well as with trainers and mentors.
EWI supports women throughout their journeys to become entrepreneurs, enabling them to garner the confidence and trust in their own abilities, and, ultimately, the power to achieve their goals. Together, the program cohorts and EWI foster a collaborative environment where participants support each other every step of the way.
There are many avenues for ensuring women’s success in business through the EWI. The Entrepreneur Support Services is a year-round program that connects women to coaching, mentorship and to a broader network of mentors and organizations. In addition, EWI offers in-depth mentorship to women in the Entrepreneur Training for Success program. Mentors, who are often women with established businesses, champion and support participants both in and out of the class.
Partnerships and collaboration with other organizations is also key to ensuring that EWI’s work is successful and comprehensive. Through its extensive network, EWI can refer women to access services that they do not provide themselves. Mutually beneficial partnerships have proven to be particularly effective for reaching more participants and volunteers.