Stories from the Women Graduates of Simple Steps to Business


Testimonial from instructor, Susana Gama:
The “Simple Steps” program has given the opportunity for many women, mostly immigrants, who desire to open or expand their business. Many of them came to this country having overcome many obstacles to get here, dreaming to give their families a better future. 

The key feature in this program is that we include empowerment classes, which makes the difference for many of them. It gives them opportunity to discover all their potential and believe in themselves. They also have a supporting community of peers with the same goal, and an organization that respects and supports them.

When they start the class, they have a lot of doubts, fears, and very low self-esteem, for many reasons. Some do not knowing the language (English), suffered from domestic violence, did not know the system, and/or were alone in an unknown country. 

As an instructor of the “Simple Steps to Business” program for almost 10 years, I have seen the progress from when the women start the class, to when they finish. I’ve seen so many businesses open, jobs created, and family income increase. 

To me it has been an honor to have served those strong, brave women, who are so special because they had the courage and confidence to succeed. 


Testimonial from student, Valeria Bacerra:
"The Simple Steps class was very powerful, I did not know what steps to take to start a business and the class taught me how to start from the bottom. It did not only teach you how to start a business, but also how to handle networking a marketing type of businesses. I am an Amway business distributor – the class helped me to form the business and manage it financially and increase my sales. I've seen a difference and results. Now, I am able to make more sales with less quantity.”

Testimonial from student,
Mirella Mora:
“A few years ago someone came up to me with the idea of purchasing a restaurant business – I was sold on the idea of having my own business, so I got it. I did not realize the demands of owning and running my own business. My business failed and I had to sell it while losing financially. 

At the Latina Center, I heard about the Renaissance business program. I was discouraged by family to start a business again after what had happened. This time I wanted to start a daycare business. After taking Simple Steps with Susana, I realized my mistakes from my first business, but I was also motivated to start my second business the right way. Susana taught us to have a business plan, to learn about our competitors around us and study how they run their business and how we can be different. She also taught us how to pay attention to the money generated and money being spent to become financially informed. I learned to think differently, to be prepared, and to have a great concept before launching. She taught us to be positive and to be informed, to save money. I learned so much that I am always recommending this class to my friends and family who are thinking of starting a business.”

Event information:
A special bi-lingual event celebrating the achievements of Renaissance Richmond's Simple Steps to Business class. The event will take place on January 28th at Richmond City Hall Multi-Purpose Room, 440 Civic Center Plaza, starting at 6:00pm. 

Renaissance breaks the cycle of poverty by helping lower-income English- and Spanish-speaking women and men achieve economic mobility, build assets, and create better futures for themselves, their families, and our communities through small business ownership.

Simple Steps to Business is a women-focused comprehensive small business training program, offered in both English and Spanish, that empowers lower-income women with the technical skills, networks, and confidence to succeed. The event will recognize the accomplishments of 22 Spanish-speaking women from Richmond and the East Bay who completed the course and are on their way to launching and growing their own small businesses.

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