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More than 60 participants from various states and Puerto Rico participated in Alianza's two-day training entitled Financial Independence for Latina Survivors of Domestic Violence. The training was held in New York City. During the first day of the workshop, participants learned the basics of Financial Literacy including: household budgeting, how banks and other financial institutions work, opening and balancing a check book, credit basics, personal and business loans, renting or buying a place, and identify theft.
Day two of the training actively engaged the participants in exploring the world of entrepreneurship (How to Start a Business). Participants learned how to do marketing research to determine if there a market for a specific product or service. They reviewed business ownership essentials, including start-up requirements and operations—how to select a business structure, how much money is needed to open the business, what licenses or permits are required, how to balance family and business, how to keep good records, how to protect business assets. Next, the participants learned how to create a marketing plan (selecting marketing strategies and venues). The final session focused on writing a business plan, including developing a long-range vision, setting realistic goals, writing a mission statement, selecting a location, product/service description, hours of operation, management, general operations, and projecting costs.
After learning all of the theory—the how to's and the do's and don'ts, and examining selected case studies, participants got to the fun part. Working in small groups, they had to develop sample budgets, calculate personal living expenses, and create sample businesses. Some of the creative businesses they came up with were: Mobile Mat—Bubbles on the Go; La Fondita--Un Pedacito de Mexico; Eco-Watch--Solar Powered Watches; Gems for Fems--Jewelry Just for You; Beauty on the Go—When Glamour Comes to You.
In addition to imparting information about the technical aspects about financial literacy and entrepreneurship, the training also provided information about the specific needs and circumstances of Latina survivors and how financial knowledge can be a key step in the survival of victims and their children. The trainers also discussed effective methods for facilitating workshops for survivors using Alianza's training curriculum--¡Si Podemos/Yes We Can—Beyond Domestic Violence: Achieving Financial Independence.
The training was conducted by Ivonne Ortiz, Alianza's Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator and JoAnn Garay, Program Coordinator and Trainer (WESST). Participants also heard from special guest, Dawn Maestas, a DV Survivor and now successful business owner. (The training was supported by Department of Justice/Office on Violence Against Women Grant No. 2010-ET-S6-K017).