Narrative Progress Report:
1. Accomplishments for the Program:
Purpose: The purpose of the project: Support Beyond Entrepreneurship was to support the Business and Wellnes program held on September through November 2021 called: Wellness, Health and Sucess Program for Latina Mothers. Moms had the opportunity to participate in our business incubator and also receive wellness classes from our expert. Women Palante was able to help the participants structure, develop and strengthen their existing (or to be created) business model and value proposition. Throughout the program, the participants will focus on each of the key areas of their endeavor and will learn new tools to enhance such aspects.
# of Participants: 107 participants, 37 from Montgomery County. 19 Graduated. 3 from Montgomery County Graduated.
Expectation: Our expectation is that with this program, the students identify, strengthen and/or modify their value proposition in order to make their business models sustainable in the long-term and capture value. We also expect that they complete all of the homework.
Accomplishments: It is too early to tell on the impact the course has had on the student’s start-ups. However, based on (i) the homework received ; and (ii) the Canvas and Pitch activities held during the end of the course, it was clear that participants have identified areas for improvement and/or confirmed that their value proposition has a market fit. Students also had individual sessions with the Business Tutor to further discuss areas for innovation, improvement and development that on the words of the participants have had impact on their business models.
The academic team, along with external juries, provided feedback to each of the participants, that was very well received and enhanced the students’ value proposition.
Regarding the homework completion, the academic team managed to increase the student’s participation from 21% as of the mid-report to 50% . Further note that from the total 107 participants, only 18% reached graduation.
We had one guest speaker Manuel Torres from Digital Nest who taught the students about business digitalization, its aspects and digital marketing.
We had 2 principal donors also who supported the business and wellness section of this program.
(i) One of our participants living in Maryland has benefited from the course to strengthen her business model: a foundation to help immigrant children with their immigrant status. She has profited from the Pitch tips taught during the course to create interest and rapport with future investors, and has identified a niche market currently underserved in the US. Women Palante supported her directly with business pitch, first draft of the financial plan and business card design.This student also received:The Best Business Canva Prize and will be continue receiving support to improve her business presentation to the second round of the nonprofit village pitch if it is necessary.
(ii) We were able to develop a business coaching support and reach out directly the students on their business idea or business growth. We were able to provide professional office hours to support the students and power hours where the students did the business assignments such as business plan, pitch, budget among others.
(iii) Additionally, with the program assistant, Women Palante developed an extra additional support after the graduation. With the business assistance and the Executive Director, Women Palante developed one of one business diagnosis and interview of the graduated students. The objective is to provide a maximum of six months support with one business goal and one wellness goal.
(iv) Women Palante’s network and support has also helped other students with interesting business models to participate in the Woman Impact Virtual Summit, where 2 students from Montgomery County, they had the chance to present their start-up and connect with potential clients, partners and/or investors in this event. They also had the opportunity to register their project in the Heroikka platform for business exposure. The students benefited from the lessons provided during the course to prepare a strong business case and identify their key value proposition.
(v) One entrepreneur from Montgomery County and part of Women Palante community received and implemented a micro loan for her business “Young Parent Elevation Network” from Silver Spring.
In fact, the most significant impact we witnessed through this program, was that of improved mindsets and mental health. This was determined in part by the results of the survey conducted at the end of the course, in which students answered wellness questions similar to those in the initial registration program questionnaire. In the health section of the survey, a positive change was seen in questions about the perception of one's own health, self-assessment of the mothers' overall health status and better results in the mental health questions, which are related to feelings of anxiety, depression, despair and loss of self-control
we were unsure of which health topic would resonate most. Mid through, we realized there was a greater interest in mental health aspects (mindset, morning routines, self-care and self-love) and some on domestic violence. We emphasized these areas and are happy with the results.
One of our participants shared this when reflecting on her action plans, which consisted of simple weekly goals, “my sincere thanks for those goals that seemed very small and, in the end, caused so much impact”. She expressed her gratitude for us and the program.
Another participant, Helen, expressed her gratitude in tears during our graduation ceremony. She also sent us a heartfelt message. Helen let us know that when the program started, she was going through the most difficult time of her life. Below is part of her testimony around the program:
“It helped me a lot since I was able to face challenges with the action plan, goals that I set for myself to overcome everything.
Now I have more time for myself, I delegate the chores in my house since before I did everything by myself and without any rest because I believed that it was my responsibility and my work to take care of the house and also of the food.
I am important, perhaps not for my husband, a little for my children, but I am valuable to me and that is what should matter.
Your support is what gave me strength to continue. I started with the action plan but you were my strength. You started giving me the courage, thank you.
I will never finish thanking you and the program I felt all the vibes from the first moment.”
This testimony further supports our assessment for the need to focus on mental health for the next program. Given the past two years especially, we feel this is what is most needed at this time and will trickle into all other areas of the participants’ lives, positively affecting their entrepreneur and life goals in general.
Areas for Improvement: During the course we have identified some areas that could be improved in order to make a future second version of the course better: (i) power-hours, as noted above, should be implemented since the beginning, as they provide additional support to the students (academic and technology-wise); (ii) review the homework so that they are more concise and to be implemented (as much as possible) in each student’s business model, rather than in well-known business examples; (iii) make earlier sessions of the business course more interactive; and (iv) check if an alternative class-hour (i.e. Saturday morning) might facilitate student engagement and participation. iv)business tutor needs to lead the Action Plan interviews.
Prepared By: Sebastian Toro, Business Tutor of Women Palante
Reviewed By: Yurani Sandoval, CEO, Women Palante
See Annex II List of Award by Student and Donors’ biography, for more information about Yuri Franco.
 See Annex III Satisfactory Survey Template and Survey Results
 A participant was recognized as a graduate if she attended at least six of the nine sessions and turned in 4 completed assignments. The average number of attendees per class was 20.
 This program also provided wellness education, support on wellness and health has been made also in this program. However, this information is included on the midterm and final report for the other donor of this program which support this section.
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