SWFL MicroEnterprise Project celebrates first all-female graduating class

Eight aspiring entrepreneurs are now one step closer to starting their own business, after graduating from Goodwill's Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise program on April 5.
The April 2012 Graduation Class
The April 2012 Graduation Class
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April 10, 2012 - PRLog -- Eight female entrepreneurs are now ready to launch their small businesses after graduating from the Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Project on Thursday, April 5.  The ceremony was held at the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center.

The Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Project (http://www.goodwillswfl.org/microenterprise) is a training program to help emerging entrepreneurs start new ventures and grow small businesses.

Graduates Betty Armas, Elizabeth Brew, Amy Charles, Roweana Elizee, Bonnie Henson, Cheryl Holland, Claribel Levinson and Dawn Ziegler each received certificates symbolizing their completion of the 6-week course which is guided by small business mentors. This was also the projects first all-female group of graduates.

Sherri Lange, Ph.D. of Alliance Financial Group delivered the inspiring commencement address stating “Inner strength and passion will carry you through.” She continued, “Keep your eyes focused so you see all your possibilities.”

Several of the graduates had an opportunity to address the crowd, such as Cheryl Holland who said that, thanks to the program, “I now have a polished feasibility plan, good tools, and am ready to start my business.”

In the two years since the MicroEnterprise program has started, the program has graduated 79 aspiring entrepreneurs, 24 of whom have started their business ventures.

The Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Project is a partnership of several organizations and provides training for individuals with low-to-moderate income and/or other disadvantages to start their own businesses.  The program is administrated by Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida (http://www.goodwillswfl.org).  Additional support is provided by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, and the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center, Edison State College, Fifth Third Bank, Florida Community Bank, and Lee County Department of Human Services.

The program is part of Goodwill’s mission to help people with disabilities and other disadvantages overcome their barriers to employment and independence.

To learn more about the Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise project, please visit http://www.goodwillswfl.org/microenterprise or call Elliott Rittenhouse, Director of MicroEnterprise at Goodwill: (239) 995-2106 ext. 2215

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Goodwill operates 25 thrift stores in Southwest Florida to support its mission of removing barriers to independence. Programs include income-sensitive housing, career placement assistance, the L.I.F.E. Academy Charter School, Four Wheels for Work, and others.
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