What a totally cool idea! I love this!
CAEPV Members Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation, in conjunction with the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), recently announced the launch of the Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant Program, which will provide grants to domestic violence survivors to help them successfully develop small businesses.
Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation are donating a total of $45,000 to fund the grant program. One-time grants will range from $500 to $2,500 per applicant and can be used to make a down payment on a work space, purchase a computer or other office equipment, purchase initial product inventory, as collateral to support the receipt of a small business loan, pay for child care or transportation necessary to complete entrepreneurship classes, or other start-up costs.
Knowing of Verizon's strong support of domestic violence survivors through its HopeLine initiative and other grant-making activities, OPDV Executive Director Amy Barasch approached the company with the idea for the scholarships, and Verizon put the idea into action. The grant program is based on the premise that domestic violence survivors, through their past experience and the coping and problem-solving skills they developed to escape the cycle of violence, are uniquely prepared to step into an entrepreneurial role.
Applicants will be required to submit a business plan, and be enrolled in, or have completed an entrepreneurship assistance program, many of which are offered across the state through local chambers of commerce or schools and universities. New York State's Empire State Development funds a network of entrepreneurship assistance programs across New York.
The partnership between entrepreneurship programs and domestic violence programs makes a great deal of sense: in 2007-08, 60 percent of the state-supported entrepreneurship program graduates were female, and the programs overall resulted in significant increased sales, employee retention, and new jobs. In addition, many existing entrepreneurship programs have graduated domestic violence survivors, even though the programs may not know that fact.
In New York State, 87 percent of all business enterprises have four employees or less, illustrating that entrepreneurs and small business owners play a significant role in the state's economy and will be a key force in the state's economic recovery. In addition, the successful development of a small business can bring survivors increased control over their working lives, create important financial and social opportunities for them, and help ensure their long-term safety and stability, according to Barasch.
Interested individuals can obtain a grant application through their local domestic violence organization – visit http://nyscadv.org/directory.htm for a complete list of programs in New York State – or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .