The Goodwill Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute is a training program to help emerging entrepreneurs start new ventures and grow small businesses. Graduates complete a 12-module business and management training course over six weeks, and work with mentors who are successful businesspersons. Mentors for the recent session were Eric Graham, Donald Dean and Tony Solgard. The class facilitator was Ingrid Molina.
Graduates Margarita Bouza, Ophelia Canady, Jesi Cason, Laura Elsaid, Amy Gainey, Kristina Kaufman, Yashira Martinez, Jaqueline Mims, Gerald Sprafka, Kathleen Sprafka and Nancy Steele were all present to receive their certificates symbolizing their completion of the small business training course.
“I always did pictures,” says Cason who hopes to grow her photography business. “I never thought about it as a business. This class made me sit down and evaluate my goals.”
Delivering the commencement speech was Gwendolyn Howard, owner of Gwendolyn’s Café & Catering Company. She has been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years and has gained National attention for employing newly sober people who have come from Southwest Florida Addiction Services and the county drug court system. She was voted one of the News Press’ People of the Year for 2012.
“You show up every day and you work hard and you do it for the right reasons,” says Howard. “Don’t over extend yourself. Keep on top of things.”
The Goodwill Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute is administrated by Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida and is part of Goodwill’s mission to provide life-changing opportunities to people with disabilities and disadvantages to achieve independence. To learn more about the SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute, please visit www.goodwillswfl.org/
For more information about Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, visit www.goodwillswfl.org.