Wells Fargo & Company is hosting a two-day event for mortgage customers facing foreclosure due to financial hardships.
A free home preservation workshop will be held October 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Pennsylvania Convention Center, West Hall “E,” 1101 Arch Street.
During the event, approximately 100 Wells Fargo home retention team members will be available to work with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Wells Fargo Financial and Wachovia Mortgage and Wells Fargo Home Equity customers from Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey.
Borrowers could receive a decision on a workout, loan modification or other options on site or following the event. Options include Wells Fargo’s own loan modification program and the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.
“Wells Fargo wants to help its customers succeed financially, and keeping them in their homes is a top priority. Events like this Home Preservation Workshop provide a key opportunity for customers to work with us in addressing the challenges they face,” said A. Marie Day, senior vice president, Regional Servicing Director, Wells Fargo.
“One of the unique opportunities that our customers have is to leave that day with a decision about what options are available for them to stay in their home. It’s not an event where they fill out paperwork and we just take their information.”
Wells Fargo has invited 35,000 customers who are behind on their mortgage to the event. To date, fewer than 600 customers have registered for the upcoming workshops.
Wells Fargo services about nine million mortgages in the country. Since 2009, the banking institution has held 40 home preservation workshops in the hardest hit markets — markets where the banking institution faces the highest delinquencies by mortgage customers. According to Wells Fargo officials, Philadelphia has a five percent delinquency rate.
“That five percent is still a significant number and we want them to understand what resources are available and that we want to work with them,” Day says of these delinquent customers.
Customers who attend the workshop will be assigned a single point of contact: one representative that will work with them throughout the resolution of their mortgage case. Assistance will also be available for those customers who cannot afford to stay in their homes.
Workshop attendees must have a number of documents on hand when they meet with a Wells Fargo representative. Participants must bring the following documents: most recently filed and signed federal tax return; a recent statement for every savings account, CD, bond, stock, IRA and 401K; recent statements for credit cards, auto/student loans, other mortgages, liens and other debt obligations; a signed and dated hardship letter detailing why it’s difficult to make mortgage payments and a list of all household expenses.
Salaried borrowers must also bring a month’s worth of the most recent paycheck stubs and W-2s, and self-employed borrowers must bring most recent quarterly or year-to-date profit/loss statement reflecting business name, gross/net income and business expenses, complete tax return with all schedules, and three months of business bank statements.
Borrowers with income such as Social Security, disability or death benefits, pension, adoption assistance, public assistance, food stamps or unemployment must bring a benefits statement or award letter from provider stating the amount, frequency and duration of the benefit and three most recent bank statements showing receipt of such payment.
Those who rely on alimony or child support as qualifying income must bring divorce or other court decree, or separation agreement or other written agreement filed with the court stating amount and period of time it will be received as well as three most recent bank statements showing receipt of such payment.
Borrowers relying on rental income are asked to bring Current Lease Agreement (s) in entirety and three months of bank statements showing deposit of payment or cancelled checks showing receipt of payment.
Registration is recommended for the upcoming workshop. Attendees must register by October 4.
To register, visit wfhmevents.com/leadingthewayhome or call 1 (800) 405-8067.
Bottom Dollar Food has marked its first year anniversary in the Greater Philadelphia region.
When Bottom Dollar Food opened its first store in King of Prussia on Oct. 8, 2010, it paved the way for 21 additional stores in the market, including 20 in Pennsylvania and two in New Jersey.
“We have created about 960 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia market and have really become a part of communities in which we operate in,” said Meg Ham, president of Bottom Dollar Food.
“We remain committed to delivering fresh produce, quality meats and private and national brand products at unbelievably low prices and we look forward to continuing to expand our presence in this market.”
Bottom Dollar Food stores specialize in offering national and private brands, fresh produce and meats at discount prices. The stores carry more than 6,500 items.
“For us to open 22 stores and for us to be able to bring savings to the customers in those areas has been hugely rewarding for us at Bottom Dollar,” Ham added.
More growth is on the horizon for the discount retailer as it plans to six additional stores in Philadelphia, Fountain Hill and Nazareth, Pa., and Clementon, Cherry Hill, Glassboro, N.J. Bottom Dollar will add 280 jobs by year-end due to the expansion.
Bottom Dollar officials and associates are preparing to open a store in the Philadelphia’s Penrose section on Oct. 28 at 7627 Lindbergh Avenue.
To mark its first anniversary in serving the region, the retailer offered special in-store promotions Oct. 8 at its area locations.
On Oct. 7, Bottom Dollar donated 26,300 pounds of food to four local food banks including, Second Harvest Food Bank, Philabundance, Food Bank of South Jersey and Greater Berks Food Bank.
During its first year of operating in the Philadelphia market, Bottom Dollar donated more than $225,000 worth of food to Feeding America food banks throughout the region.
“It’s really important to us to be a part of the communities we’re in. Specifically given who we are and what we do, food banks are of particular interest to us,” says Ham.
Based in Salisbury, N.C., Bottom Dollar Food operates 50 stores in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Bottom Dollar Food is a subsidiary of Delhaize America, the U.S. division of international retail operator Delhaize Group.
Personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox wants to help couples achieve financial bliss.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, Khalfani-Cox says even though the holiday is about romance, finances play a role in what happens on Feb. 14.
She says men are often under pressure to come up with a big gift — such as an expensive piece of jewelry.
“I think a lot of times, guys in particular feel the pressure to have something extravagant — something demonstrative. Even though the person might be well-intentioned and might have a good heart, financially it might be a stretch for him or it just might not be practical for his economic reality or the couple’s true financial predicament,” say Khalfani-Cox.
She advises that people address their expectations and talk about financial limitations for the holiday early on.
“If you know that your mate or spouse has a set of expectations, don’t drop that kind of bombshell on them the day of, or the day before because they will naturally be disappointed,” she said.
The discussion about finances should go beyond Valentine’s Day expectations, Khalfani-Cox says.
With that in mind, she says it’s important that couples talk openly about finances and get to know each other’s money personalities.
“Part of what you have to do is get on the same page,” said Khalfani-Cox, who is the co-founder of the free financial advice blog, “AskTheMoneyCoach.com.”
“It’s very common for couples to have what I like to call opposite money personalities. She’s a spender and he’s a saver — or vice versa — or maybe she’s a splurger or impulse buyer and he’s a planner – somebody who does everything methodically, with a set budget. So you have to align those two.”
One way that couples can get on the same page financially is by joining a financial bootcamp together. Khalfani-Cox and a team of six personal finance experts lead a free-online bootcamp called MyMoneyCircles.com.
“You get financial tips and strategies to strengthen your relationship for the long haul,” Khalfani says of the bootcamp.
“It covers everything from how to get out of debt and how to save for a future together. We teach people about how to reach those shared or collective goals.”
The tough economy can take a toll on relationships. To that end, Khalfani-Cox says in times of financial stress, couples should plan together, establish a budget and stick to it and agree to buy only what they really need.
“Couples that tackle money problems together, and take mutual responsibility for solving them, will inevitably find that their overall relationships are better for it,” says Khalfani-Cox.
Studies have shown that many couples admit to hiding purchases from their partners.
“One out of ten couples has ended a relationship due at least in part to financial issues, according to a PayPal survey,” Khalfani-Cox noted.
“And among couples who’ve divorced, about 70 percent cite money problems as a big factor in the breakup. So curb your secret spending habits before you join their ranks.”
By tapping into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Emerging 200 (e200) program, Keith Searles has placed his firm on the path for growth.
The e200 program provides inner-city businesses across the country demonstrating high growth potential with a free, six-month, in-depth education in organizational management, growth strategies, market development and strategic planning.
Searles credits the e200 program with helping him develop a three-year strategic plan for his firm, Innovative Alternative Energy, which specializes in energy management and contractual services.
“In three years, the strategic plan will be to grow and expand into the commercial side of energy management, which will reach out to industrial facilities,” said Searles, who has a background as an electrician.
Innovative Alternative Energy entered the marketplace in 2007 with a focus on offering solar installation services. Since then, the Merion Station-based company has diversified into the field of residential energy audits and weatherization. Searles has been successful in netting contracts with PECO for its Smart Ideas rebate program.
Searles aspires to offer energy management services for high-rise commericial buildings in major cities, including Philadelphia and New York.
He joined entrepreneurs from nine other companies who were honored during the e200 graduation ceremony held at City Hall. This year’s graduates included Leon McMillian, A-Ware Marketing, LLC; Sophy and Chris DiPinto, DiPinto Guitars; Tyraine Ragsdale, Grand Hank Productions, Inc.; Mia Mendoza, Mendoza Group Inc; Jude Arijaje, Minuteman Press; Yatsun Wen and Fenjin He, Nature Soy, Inc.; Dan Taso, New Mainstream Press; Derrick Jackson, Precision Plus Plumbing; and Yvette and Dereck Jones, Ultimate Concrete.
Addressing the graduates, SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns stressed the importance of small businesses as the engines of the economy.
“You are already leaders in your community. Today I am calling on you to roll up your sleeves and do what you can to drive our economy forward. Hire more workers and create more jobs,” said Johns.
“Be a mentor to young people and help create the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
She told the graduates the SBA would continue to be a resource for their businesses.
“The SBA can support you as you seize new opportunities and face new challenges. When you need capital to expand your business, we can help you get a loan. If you want to get into government contracting, we can find you contracts to bid on. Or if you just want to keep learning and growing, we can find you a counselor or a mentor,” said Johns.
In 2008, Philadelphia joined a group of major cities in launching the e200 initiative, which offers inner-city businesses an MBA-like curriculum designed to help business grow and stimulate their local economies. Participants work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with banks and the private equity community.
Since its inception, nearly 1,000 small business owners have graduated from the national program. According to the SBA, these entrepreneurs have seen a 60 percent increase in revenue, created hundreds of new jobs and secured millions of dollars in financing and government contracts.
As the owner of Smooth Like That, James Singleton focuses on helping men look their best.
Whether they are seeking footwear, a suit for a formal occasion, or a hat to complement their look, many fashion conscious men are turning to Smooth Like That for their gear.
The men’s clothing store, at 5705 North Broad St., offers a vast selection of dress shirts, slacks, suits, neckties, vests, cufflinks, shoes and hats. The shop specializes in carrying a range of clothing that can outfit toddlers to men who wear 6X.
Smooth Like That carries a mixture of suit offerings that range from Sean John to Giorgio, and features a large selection of Stacy Adams footwear.
Singleton enjoys helping his customers navigate the world of men’s fashion.
“I’m a people person. I like to talk to people and I like to try to give them advice on the type of fashion that’s out,” said the North Philadelphia native. “This is in my blood. This is the gift that God gave me.”
Singleton’s interest in fashion began at age 17 when he started working for a men’s store named Leo’s in North Philadelphia. What started out as an after-school part-time job would evolve into a 20-year career at Leo’s. During his time at Leo’s, Singleton honed skills in merchandise buying, tailoring and management. By 2000, Singleton was ready to venture out and he opened Smooth Like That at Germantown and Chelten Avenues.
He’s come a long way from the days when he first launched the shop.
“It was a small store, but I built it up. I worked the whole store by myself before I hired anybody. I couldn’t afford to,” Singleton recalled.
“I had to sell, I had to buy. I had to be my own tailor.”
In 2004, he opened the doors to a second location in the busy Broad and Olney corridor.
Throughout his years as a businessman, Singleton has been proud of having an impact on the lives of young men.
At a time when many young men embrace the popular style of wearing pants worn way below the waist, Singleton offers advice to his young clients about the proper way to wear their clothes.
“I come from the old era where when we went to school, we went to school dressed. We wore slacks and shoes,” he said.
When young men come in seeking a suit for prom season, Singleton seizes the opportunity to give them pertinent advice on how to dress appropriately.
“I really like working with the young kids, because they have no direction on how to dress to go on an interview,” said Singleton.
“Some of them don’t have that role model at home to show them what a man is supposed to dress like.”
In addition to offering fashion tips, Singleton has employed young men from the community.
“I try to give back what I have received. When I first started out I was a young man in the 11th grade and somebody gave me a chance,” he says.
“I really enjoy helping our young generation get themselves together. I try to let them know that there are things that you can do besides just being on the corner slinging drugs and things like that.”
After 12 years of outfitting men, Singleton is considering expanding the shop’s offerings to include more women’s fashions. He currently carries jackets for ladies, however, customers have been requesting women’s clothing.
Like other small business owners, Singleton has had to weather the economic storm of the last two years, but he’s starting to see an uptick in business.
“This year, for some reason, it seems like things are turning back around,” he said, noting that this quarter he’s faring better than he did during the last two years.
Now he’s gearing up for prom and wedding season — a time when the store traditionally sees an surge in customers.
The ability to retain repeat customers has held the store in good stead.
“If you help a person, they are not going to forget about you — and that’s what I do,” says Singleton.
For the last three years, Alfred Savage has been one of the store’s repeat customers.
He and his wife Sharon appreciate the quality of menswear that Smooth Like That has to offer.
“I like the way I’m treated. They’re very professional,” Savage said during a recent visit to the shop.
James R. Veal is striving to help African Americans increase their financial literacy and successfully plan for retirement.
Veal heads the JRV Wealth Management Group, LLC, a Center City-based independent financial planning and investment firm.
Veal says many African Americans run the risk of retiring in poverty, because they didn’t plan adequately during the early stages of their employment.
“A lot of people in the community still believe that the government and their employers are going to take care of them in their retirement,” says Veal, who has 15 years of experience in the financial industry.
To that end, Veal says its important that workers avail themselves of 401(k)s and 403(b) retirement plans.
“The 401(k) is your pension. That 401(k) or 403(b) is a way to generate wealth, slowly but surely,” Veal stressed.
Veal says it’s important that workers start socking money away in their 401(k) plans as early as possible, especially since people are living 20 to 30 years in retirement.
“You’d be surprised how much you could generate from a 401(k). If you could contribute $200 to $300 a month in a 401(k) for 20 years, you’d probably have a quarter of a million dollars,” he stated.
He suggests that people invest between 8 to 10 percent of their salary into a 401(k) plan. By participating in their employer plans, he noted that workers have the chance of taking advantage of the pre-tax contributions and matching contributions from their company.
Veal also encourages people to invest in mutual funds — even if they have to start as small as saving $25 per month.
“Even if you’re not making as much money, you can still participate in the stock market and build wealth, just by consistently contributing every month to a mutual fund or a stock or some of these other investments, and eventually it’s going to grow — but you have to do it consistently,” he said. “You have to be disciplined.”
The Philadelphia native launched his firm in 2009, after garnering more than 10 years of experience as a stockbroker and financial advisor.
Veal manages approximately $10 million in assets for his clients, 85 percent of whom are African-American. The majority of his clients are women.
Veal noted there is a dearth of African-American financial advisors in the industry. He attributes this to the difficulty of the business and the lack of African-American mentors.
“It is a very difficult business. You have to be a true blue hustler. If you do not hustle in this business, you’re done,” Veal pointed out.
In keeping with his focus on educating members of the community, Veal frequently conducts workshops and seminars. Veal teaches financial literacy courses through the Temple University Pan African Studies Community Education Program.
The next course titled “Ways to Pay Yourself First” will be held February 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1700 North Broad Street, Room 301. The course covers financial planning and retirement preparation.
After being laid off suddenly, Atiya Angela Havens stepped into the world of entrepreneurship back in 2001.
At the time she was a single parent, and knew that she needed to have a source of revenue.
“I said at that moment I would never allow anybody else to dictate my ability to make money and feed my family,” said Havens.
With that in mind, she launched Atiya Designs with a focus on sewing Islamic garments. From there, she added jewelry and ready-made clothing to the mix and began vending. She’s established a reputation as a vendor in the Philadelphia Islamic community.
While she was accustomed to vending at different events and conferences throughout the city, Havens knew she wanted to launch her own boutique.
Havens recalled occasions when she would walk into retail clothing stores and receive negative feedback from clerks who questioned why she is interested in certain items, since she was attired in Muslim garb.
“I’m a professional businesswoman, and when I get paid, I like to go shop. I always said that I wanted people like myself to be able to shop in a place where they are comfortable and meet the needs that they have as it relates to coverings and such,” says Havens, who is a Brooklyn, N.Y. native.
Havens dream was realized when she opened Amatullah’s Treasures this month at 6305 Lansdowne Avenue. The West Philadelphia-based boutique features women’s clothing, jewelry, handbags and oil burners. Havens plans to add bath and body products and lingerie to Amatullah’s offerings.
Havens says the shop’s name is fitting, as “Amatullah” means female servant of God. She was drawn to set up shop on Lansdowne Avenue due to West Philadelphia’s large Muslim population.
For Havens, selecting items for the store can be a tedious process. She culls her selections from tradeshows, catalogs and websites.
“I’m very particular about what I put in the store. Because it’s Amatullah’s Treasures, I look at every piece as a treasure,” says Havens.
When she shops with wholesalers to stock the store, Havens says she seeks out non-popular items.
She prides herself on being able bring unique offerings to her clientele.
“My premise is I will not sell multiples of any item,” says Havens, who juggles running her business with working full time at the Kaplan Career Institute.
“I want you to have some type of individuality and some type of style and flair. From the feedback from my customers — that’s what they love. They love the fact that the pieces that they see are elegant (and) they’re classy,” says Havens.
Havens appreciates knowing that she’s helping women look fashionable at affordable prices.
“One of the things that my business does is, in some women it promotes their self-esteem. It allows them to know that they can be beautiful,” says Havens, who is the mother of four children.
Havens regards her business venture as a way to ensure that she’s leaving something for the future generation.
Her daughter, Iyana Flynn, serves as the store manager.
“I wanted to be able to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren. I wanted them to be able to see that there are other options,” said Havens.
Amatullah’s Treasurers is open Monday through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays, from 1 to 7 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
International financial services company Sun Life Financial Inc. has tapped prominent community leaders to serve on a judging panel.
Sun Life has selected Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress Executive Director Tanya Hall and Impacto Latin Newspaper publisher and founder Napoleon Garcia as judges for its signature national philanthropic initiative, the Sun Life Rising Star Awards.
As members of the panel of nine judges, Hall and Garcia will help Sun Life award more than $165,000 in grants and scholarships to Philadelphia youth and nonprofit organizations, aiding to reduce the achievement gap faced by low-income students.
Winning Philadelphia organizations will receive a $50,000 grant, while an exemplary student nominated by each organization receives an individual $5,000 Sun Life Rising Star scholarship towards financing a college education.
“I am honored to serve with MAC board member, Napoleon Garcia, as a judge for the Sun Life Rising Star Awards alongside all of the other distinguished professionals,” said Hall.
“MAC spends a sizeable amount of time paving the way for our future hospitality and tourism workforce. This awards program promotes our social responsibility efforts and continues to position the city as a smart multicultural destination.”
Hall and Garcia will join a panel of judges that include Claudia Averette, chief of administration to the School District of Philadelphia’s Deputy Superintendent; Brian Grant, president of Premier Financial Group, Inc.; Mark Kemp, president of Kemp & Associates Retirement Services; Henri Moore, senior vice president and director of Public Affairs for Citizens Bank; Karen Shakoske, senior vice president and director of Marketing for Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC; Marla Shoemaker, senior curator of Education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Bob Steinke, senior vice president and head of Annuity & Insurance products for Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC.
“We are thrilled to have some of Philadelphia’s foremost community and education leaders help us shape the Sun Life Rising Stars program in Philadelphia,” said Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson.
“Their keen understanding of the local educational landscape will be invaluable as we create sustainable programming that helps bridge the achievement gap by promoting financial literacy, a critical factor in helping our Rising Stars embark on the path towards a sound financial future.”
NEW YORK — Bank of America Corp. is scrapping its plan to charge a $5 monthly debit card fee.
The bank's decision to drop the fee came after a roar of customer outrage in recent weeks over the fee. Other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., already canceled tests of similar debit card fees last week.
SunTrust Banks and Regions Financial Corp. followed suit on Monday.
Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, declined to say whether the company experienced a spike in account closures since announcing the $5 debit card fee in September.
But in a statement Tuesday, Bank of America's co-Chief Operating Officer David Darnell said the decision was based on customer feedback. "Our customers' voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so," he said.
Pace added that a "changing competitive marketplace" also played a role.
The about-face by the banking industry comes amid growing public anger over higher bank fees. A movement to get bank customers switch to credit unions — started by a Bank of America customer — had marked this Saturday as "Bank Transfer Day."
A separate online petition asking Bank of America to cancel the $5 fee also had gathered more than 306,000 supporters this week.
"Consumers have the power to make the big banks back down from unfair practices if they raise their voices and vote with their feet and their dollars," Norma Garcia of Consumers Union said in a release Tuesday. In the end, she said Bank of America understood that it risked losing too many customers.
Unlike Chase and Wells Fargo, Bank of America's announcement that it would start charging customers a monthly debit card fee early next year had come without any testing in the marketplace.
Pace said the bank had made the decision based on internal surveys with customers. She declined to detail the nature of those surveys but said that in the past couple of weeks, "customer sentiment changed."
The banking industry's retreat from a debit card fee doesn't mean customers aren't seeing higher fees elsewhere.
This past spring, for example, Bank of America raised the monthly fee on its basic checking account to $12, from $8.95.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank is also testing a new menu of checking accounts with monthly fees ranging from $6 to $25 in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts. Pace said the pilot program is seeing "good results" and that the bank plans to move ahead with its rollout sometime next year.
Other smaller fees may be nicking away at customer wallets as well. In September, the bank instituted a $5 fee to replace debit cards, with overnight rush delivery costing $20. Both services had previously been free. Bank of America isn't alone either.
Chase this year also doubled the fee on its basic checking account to $12 a month. But the bank says it will end a test in Georgia of a basic checking account that charged a $15 monthly fee.
And like many other banks, Wells Fargo ended its debit rewards program earlier this year.
The wave of fee hikes comes as the industry adjusts to new regulations. A rule that went into effect last month caps the fees banks can collect from merchants whenever customers swipe their debit cards.
Banks in the past year have blamed their fee hikes and pullback on perks on a new federal law championed by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. The law, which went into effect last month, caps the amount banks can charge merchants whenever customers swipe their debit cards.
JPMorgan has said it would lose $300 million each quarter as a result of the regulation; Wells Fargo said it would lose $250 million a quarter. -- (AP)
Domestic violence victims are tapping into a program designed to connect them to entrepreneurship opportunities.
The Verizon “Pathways to Independence” (PTI) Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Program focuses on enhancing participants’ workforce readiness skills, and providing entrepreneurial training for those women planning to launch their own business.
During a Women’s Power luncheon held at The Enterprise Center, program participants heard an inspiring message by Uneeka Jay, vice president at Cardio Net and founder of Powerful U Media Group.
Jay overcame growing up in poverty, the trauma of being molested as a child, becoming a teenage mother and experiencing an emotionally abusive relationship to become a sought-after businesswoman. She didn’t let the lack of having a college degree deter her from pursuing a corporate career and ultimately launching her own business. Jay encouraged program participants to aggressively pursue their goals.
“There’s nothing holding you back but you. There’s nothing keeping you from being excellent, but you,” Jay told program participants.
“You have to think about what it is you want and you chase that thing down like it stole something.”
The death of Jay’s mother represented a pivotal point in her life. As she closed the lid on her mother’s casket, she realized that her mother had never accomplished what she said she was going to do.
“I made a vow at that moment that I would do everything that I thought I could do when I could do it, without waiting,” said Jay.
She vowed that she would become successful and leave a legacy for her children.
The women in the audience also heard from Michelle Lawrence, senior vice president of community banking, Wells Fargo, who spoke about the importance of saving money and setting financial priorities.
Launched in 2011, PTI is funded by a $100,000 grant from Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation in conjunction with The Enterprise Center and Women Against Abuse (WAA), one of the largest domestic violence programs in Pennsylvania, and the only shelter in Philadelphia that specifically serves victims of domestic violence.
Each program cycle includes a small group of candidates identified by WAA as aspiring entrepreneurs. To date, 14 women have graduated from the program. Topics such as public speaking, professionalism and networking are covered during the eight-week program.
“The goal of the program is to increase confidence among women and get them to a place where the see themselves as someone that deserves to be able open a business, someone who deserves to pursue a full time job — whatever their goal is,” says Aleea Slappy, program manager at The Enterprise Center.
“We want to get them in the mindset that you can use entrepreneurship as a vehicle for anything that you are trying to do.”
Jeanine, a “Pathways to Independence” graduate, used her experience to launch a jewelry line that is currently carried in two local boutiques. Her jewelry serves as a representation of her life’s experiences.
“Out of something that was really negative, something really beautiful came out of it,” she says of her line.
For Monique Williams, participating in the PTI program has bolstered her confidence. She’s one of eight women who will graduate from PTI on August 28. Williams aspires to open a group home in Philadelphia.
Since she joined PTI, Williams has experienced personal growth. She’s taken steps to start saving money and has enrolled in an online medical administrative course.
“It helps women to build their confidence. I was depending on my spouse, so I feel like I’m more independent,” says Williams.
“I’m taking baby steps towards my education, so I can do what I need to do to open up my group home,” she added.
The event served as an opportunity for program participants to gain insight from established business women in the Philadelphia region and network with their peers.
Verizon Wireless has been supporting domestic violence survivors and organizations through its HopeLine program. Through HopeLine, Verizon Wireless collects, refurbishes and recycles old cell phones and accessories and uses the proceeds to provide funding to domestic violence organizations and survivors.