Empowering domestic violence survivors in entrepreneurial training programs continues with $50,000 Grant from Verizon Wireless
The Martin J. Whitman School of Management, South Side Innovation Center (SSIC) and WISE Women’s Business Center (WISE WBC) have partnered with Vera House, Inc., a comprehensive domestic and sexual violence service agency, to reach out and support domestic violence survivors in a successful community alliance. Through this collaboration, called Project Phoenix, Whitman has reached out to empower marginalized populations including victims of domestic violence by advocating and supporting them in pursuing entrepreneurship. Most recently, Project Phoenix has received a $50,000 grant from Verizon Wireless to continue its services to provide domestic violence survivors with the necessary entrepreneurship tools to start fresh.
“We are thrilled to learn that Verizon will be offering continued support to help us sustain the wonderful partnership that forms the foundation of Project Phoenix,” says Randi Bregman, executive director of Vera House. “Through this visionary project, domestic violence survivors have had doors opened and dreams realized. The healing power of economic opportunity has been transformative.”
Project Phoenix clients participate in over 75 hours of business development classes as well as one-on-one business counseling meetings aimed at the development of sustainable business plans. They also attend networking events, women’s conferences and workshops, and work closely with an advocate.
Since the program’s inception in 2012, 37 women formally enrolled in the program and began working on business plans and 25 clients remain active and have started a business or are continuing to work on their business plan. Upon completion of a business plan, 87 percent of individuals were successful in receiving additional grant money from Verizon to help cover start-up costs and business development. As a direct result, over two-thirds of those receiving grants are actively running their business.
Vera House is a comprehensive domestic and sexual violence service agency providing shelter; advocacy and counseling services for women, children and men; education and prevention programs; and community coordination.
The WISE WBC, located in The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, features year-round training programs targeting women entrepreneurs at various stages of entrepreneurial development. The SSIC is a 13,000-square-foot business incubator that fosters the creation of new ventures and helps to make existing ones sustainable. The Centers, both outreach programs of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, also provide information, resources and support for entrepreneurs in underserved areas, enabling them to successfully advance their businesses to the next stage of profitability and success.