Cultivate Inclusivity's March Spotlight: Employ to Empower
This passed month the Cultivate Team got the opportunity to chat with Christina Wong the founder of Employ to Empower. We were so inspired by our conversation with her as she demonstrated incredible determination, confidence and entrepreneurial skills. Employ to Empower works to strengthen these exact traits in individuals who face barriers within the DTES community.
So, what does Employ to Empower specifically do?
Employ to Empower (E2E) provides individuals who face work and social barriers with the opportunities to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, express their own strengths and gain confidence in their skills. The individuals who join programs already have the passionate and innovation, E2E is only there to help them see that within themselves.
What are Employ to Empower's Services?
Employ to Empower's 2 main programs are Development and Entrepreneurship. The Development Program is 10 weeks where individuals learn about business fundamentals, are connected with essential support and gain a toolbox so they can customize their own entrepreneurship journey. If participants want to continue they can move onto the Entrepreneurship Program. This program provides the entrepreneurs with one-on-one mentorship, aid in creating and developing a business plan, connections within the community and access to micro-loans. Both programs aim to provide the participants with long term skills, and access to a sustainable economic effect.
Employ to Empower Success Story: Crap Trapper
When asked about the most innovating idea one of E2E's entrepreneurs had, Christina Wong immediately thought about Mark and Elwood. Mark and Elwood identified a very niche business idea... removing human waste off the streets of the Downtown Eastside Community. Their business aims to reduce the stigma of community, spread community love and hire individuals that also face barriers. Individuals like Mark and Elwood are the reason E2E is so determined. They are two incredible change makers with innovating minds and have a strong passion for their community, they just needed the opportunity to prevail.
What are Employ to Empower's 2021 Goals?
E2E is striving towards providing more individuals with the opportunity of entrepreneurship. They want to be able to help 50 more individuals and expand into the Greater Vancouver area. However, with this being said E2E never wants to compromise the quality of personal support provided and will only continue with these goals knowing each individual will receive the best possible experience.
How you can help E2E and the DTES Community?
Christina Wong clearly made the point that the DTES community members already have the strength and resiliency they need; however, opportunities are not frequent. Creating opportunities for these individuals to succeed is extremely important, but also creating conversations within society about the need for them is an easy first step to take. Challenge what you see in the media and recognize that a lot of success stories aren't covered. The love, support and strength within the community is not portrayed as it should be. So bring these great stories to your family and friends and show them the good that is going on! As well notice your language and work towards avoiding hurtful and stigmatized words. Changing our language to express empathy is extremely important to help reduce the community stigma. Everyone has a story and is working towards something, so don't judge someone else's journey but instead cheer them on!
Thank you Employ to Empower for bringing amazing opportunities, and education to the community and cultivating inclusivity.
Check out Employ to Empower