1st Source Bank has donated $10,000 to the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. Mary Chmiel,1st Source Senior Vice President, presented the donation to Shari Rodriguez, Saint Mary’s Vice President for College Relations, Elaine Meyer-Lee, Director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) and Martha Smith, Project Director of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI).
“1st Source is pleased to partner with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative to increase the chances of success for women entrepreneurs in our area,” said Chmiel, who is also a WEI Board Member.
Saint Mary’s College launched WEI in 2010 after receiving a $245,000 Small Business Administration grant to support local women’s entrepreneurship. In just two years, WEI has become the go-to place for Michiana’s female entrepreneurs by partnering with community businesses, non-profits, and organizations to provide financial and business education services to women entrepreneurs. Those partnerships provide support for women at every entrepreneurial level, from novice to high level executive.
“Saint Mary’s vision to help women entrepreneurs in our local community is exceeding expectations all around,” said Martha Smith, WEI Project Director. “1st Source Bank’s contribution to our groundbreaking entrepreneurial program will help us to continue to ignite small business growth. I am grateful to have 1st Source on board with our vision.”
WEI’s SPARK program, which started in 2011, has already helped about a dozen under-resourced, high potential entrepreneurs to develop business plans, and so far four of the women have launched their businesses. At the same time, WEI provides Saint Mary’s College students with entrepreneurship course that, to date, have inspired two profitable businesses.