Goodwill’s MicroEnterprise Program Receives $3,250 Grant From Zonta Foundation Of Southwest Florida, Inc.

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida

Helping women-owned business with start-up funds

Ft. Myers, FL – Goodwill’s MicroEnterprise Institute received a grant from the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida, Inc. for women who graduate from the program and complete their feasibility plan demonstrating a viable business idea. This is the fourth year that the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida has awarded the program funding. The funds help with the start-up costs for the woman owned business.

“In 2020, five recipients were each awarded a $650 grant to help their businesses move forward,” explains Sandra Plazas, the MicroEnterprise Program Manager. “Businesses range from gourmet spices, non-emergency transportation service for adults with disabilities, bookkeeping services for small business owners, lawn and landscaping services and organic skin care products. In 2021, five more women will receive awards.”

Goodwill SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute helps aspiring entrepreneurs who have limited means by providing them with the skills to succeed in business and become self-sufficient. Coaches are subject matter experts who enhance participants’ knowledge and understanding in, for example, accounting, law, and social media. In 2021, ten courses will be offered, with the delivery adjusted to provide the greatest support to the participants while adhering to CDC guidance.

Consistently 70% of those who enroll graduate, and 50% start or strengthen a business within two years. In 2019 alone, 50 businesses were started or strengthened as a result of the course. Since 2016, 70% are still in business and have created 110 positions for others.

Goodwill SWFL and the team of experts continue to serve graduates by offering alumni workshops and ongoing mentoring as they start and establish their businesses, provide opportunities for graduates to showcase their businesses, obtain financial assistance through Goodwill SWFL’s partnerships with others, and much more.  

Microenterprises contribute significantly to economic growth, social stability, equity, and standard of living. This program promotes self-sufficiency by providing an alternative to low-paying jobs. It helps break the cycle of poverty for the children who see their parents take control of their destiny and experience the pride of business ownership. With limited skills and education to compete for formal sector jobs, these men and women find economic opportunities in microenterprise as business owners and employees that offer relatively low barriers to entry. According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the median net worth of business owners is almost two and a half times greater than that of non-business owners.  

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by providing life-changing opportunities toward independence.  For more information about Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida’s MicroEnterprise program, visit and click on how we serve.

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