2013 Mercy Corps Northwest Annual Report

Our 2013 Annual Report is here!

Mercy Corps Northwest is excited to display our 2013 Annual Report. This report summarizes our work in the community through engaging stories, compelling outputs and outcomes. We encourage you to take a look, share it with your friends and join us as we continue to work together with individuals and families throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s a snapshot of our accomplishments in 2013:

- We provided 11,754 hours of training through business classes and seminars
- Our business development services and micro-loan programs created 301 new jobs
- Small business owners we assisted increased their median incomes by $8,246 and their median business revenues by $42,374
- We helped 30 refugee families establish small-scale farming enterprises, growing over 3.5 acres of local produce
- We assisted 134 participants at our Prison Reentry Transition Center secure employment. According to a recent Oregon Criminal Justice Commission evaluation, every dollar invested in our RTC program saves the public safety system $14 - an increase from $10.70 in 2012.

All of our participants inspire us every day to work harder and do more to help the people navigate their own path to independence and success. With everything we do, we look for efficient and effective solutions. We are proud of the work we did in 2013. Participation in our programs is at an all-time high. We anticipate expanding our work in 2014 with demand for our services growing in Oregon and Washington.

Read the 2013 Mercy Corps Northwest Annual Report

Business Foundations II and IDA II Have Finally Arrived!

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We are now offering advanced Foundations II:  Next Level Training and IDA II opportunities.

Mercy Corps Northwest is excited to announce the launch of Business Foundations II and a new IDA II program! After years of planning, Foundations and IDA II are finally here.  The programs will focus on expanding beyond basic business knowledge by introducing more advanced marketing, pricing, and finance techniques.

“For the past two years, students have been completing Foundations 1 and asking us, ‘Now what?’  The Foundations II class and IDA II program are the next steps for entrepreneurs who have passed the startup phase and are addressing a different set of issues,” says Women’s Business Center Manager Randhi Wilson.

Business Foundations II – Advanced Business Knowledge for Entrepreneurs

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Foundations II is geared towards both graduates of Foundations I and existing business owners who want to expand their business knowledge. “Foundations II is for those clients who have been in business for a while and are ready to take their business to the next level,” explains Erica Strachan, WBC Assistant Manager at Mercy Corps Northwest. “The focus of the class is on skills and knowledge that will allow you to grow your business.”

Students of Foundations I are especially prepared to benefit from Foundations II: Next Level for your business.  Strachan notes that “Foundations II builds on the concepts introduced in Foundations I.  Foundations I students will be at an advantage because they will be familiar with the terms that we will be using.” 

Even clients who have not taken Business Foundations I are eligible to register for Foundations II.  This category includes business owners who have been in business for over a year and can produce revenue documents for at least a year.  Foundations II will include extensive business information for owners past startup stage.  Class topics include measuring price setting, developing a marketing plan with measurable and defined targets, understanding the process for hiring an employee, and other skills.

Classes will be taught by Randhi Wilson and Bill Horton, a long-time Mercy Corps Northwest Foundations instructor.  The typical price will be $200, but students of the October 17th course will receive the pilot price of $100. Contact Randhi Wilson (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) for more information.

To register for Business Foundations II, please complete this form.

IDA II – Matched Savings Grants for Growing Businesses

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Along with the Foundations II course is the opportunity for clients to qualify for a second IDA matched savings grant.  This grant is specifically for “clients who are growing their business and in need of more business assets to expand their product or service,” says Sarah Castagnola, IDA Program Manager. “It gives clients who have graduated from the IDA program a second opportunity to build assets through savings and a matched savings grant, rather than accruing debt to expand their business.”

The IDA II program has five grants available for higher income IDA participants (see box at right).  Additional IDA grants are available for Foundations II participants using IDA I guidelines.  Such an opportunity can lead to a sizable amount of funds for participants. Applicants who qualify and are approved can access an additional $4,000 in matched savings grant funds. 

Clients will need to meet several requirements, including completing the Foundations II course and meeting income limits (see box). For more information, contact Sarah Castagnola at (503) 896-5083 and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).