Thursday, September 29, 2016

"StartUP Fund" Scholarships Put to Good Use

As we wrote about in our Spring Newsgram, the Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund has donated $10,000 twice, for a total of $20,000 toward a “StartUP Fund” to help women in our transitional housing program remove barriers to furthering their education and careers when no other resources could be found. Since the start of the StartUP Fund in 2015, C4DP has provided scholarships to 12 women, with 5 stories included below (all names have been changed).
1. Tamara always dreamed of having her own business. Drawing on her experience from having worked providing cleaning services for a company, she decided to start her business in Marin. After receiving the StartUP Fund, she was able to complete all the legalization and registration of her business, including registering the fictitious name of her business, obtaining the tax ID number, and registering and obtaining the required permits with the city of Novato. She decided to incorporate environmental practices and bought only green cleaning supplies. She has been able to secure a few houses and is focusing on expanding her business, with the goal of hiring some employees. She exited Second Step and is working with Habitat for Humanity to be able to buy a home in the area. She is grateful for being able to own a business, which allows her to attend to her number one priority, her children.

2. Beatriz represents the meaning of perseverance. She applied in 3 different
rounds and completed 3 applications before she was granted a StartUP Fund scholarship. The first time she completed an application, she had some idea of a possible business but no concrete goals. The application process turned into a learning experience. With support from her mother and our advocate, she was able to complete the application on her third try with a good business plan. She started a         

jewelry business in which she designs personalized jewelry. As a mother of 5 children, she enjoys working from home, and even her children help her by marketing her creations at school. Additionally, as someone that requires special considerations due to her safety, she decided not to add her name to her products and completed the registration of the business with a fictitious name. Inspired by her own entrepreneurial spirit, she has also become an Uber driver. She wears the jewelry she makes while driving clients and markets her business when she receives a compliment. With all the financial implications that having a business means, Beatriz strongly believes that the scholarship changed her
perspective about life and self-esteem. The idea of having her own business
makes her feel proud of herself and motivated to do more.


3. Roxanne was already a business owner of a hair salon in the area. During the last few years, she was keeping it afloat but was struggling to bring in new clients. She wanted to be able to offer options of coloring hair with healthier products, but the cost to implement such an addition was too expensive, especially because she planned to offer a more ecological option with no ammonia. After receiving the grant, she was able to purchase an array of different colors to offer to clients. “These new products are bringing more and more clients. A lot of people bring their friends, and some of them ask for very crazy colors!” Roxanne now has about two customers per day asking for color, while a few months ago she did one or two per month. She estimates at least $85.00 in additional income per client. Roxanne relates, “From now on I can continue to provide this line in any color. This is transforming my business!”

4. Brenda showcases one of    
the most beautiful stories of perseverance and determination. Recently, she completed an intensive training to become a construction worker and join the trades. She was able to graduate from the program, even though she had very limited English proficiency, no access to childcare, and no transportation. With solid determination, she graduated from the program and obtained the certificate to become an apprentice in the construction field. Very soon after graduating, she had an initial interview with a union representative. At that point, her only challenge was to secure reliable transportation, since that is the main requirement to join any apprentice program. She obtained the funds to buy a vehicle and start her career in the construction trades.


5. Mary had a dream since she was young about creating a line of products for women that will help reduce stress and promote good healthy living. She recently was awarded a scholarship after completing a very comprehensive application that included market projections, P&L statements, and a very well structured line of products that includes baths salts, candles, and stress reduction products. She already registered her business and is in the design phases of her website. She plans to catapult her business as a source of extra income to complement her income from her full-time bookkeeper job.

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