From Domestic Violence Survivors to Small Business Owners

Verizon Wireless recently awarded a $50,000 HopeLine from Verizon grant to Project Phoenix, a collaboration of three Central New York organizations, to help survivors of domestic violence start their own small businesses and regain their financial independence and security.

Project Phoenix, a collaboration between the South Side Innovation Center, WISE Women's Business Center and Vera House, provides domestic violence survivors with the necessary business tools to develop and complete a business plan. Clients, all survivors of domestic abuse, participate in more than 75 hours of business development classes, receive one-on-one business counseling; attend networking events, women’s conferences and workshops and work closely with an advocate to develop the plan.

To date, 37 women have formally enrolled to work on their business plans. As a direct result of receiving additional grant funds from Verizon Wireless, more than two-thirds of those participants are actively running their businesses.

The organizations, along with Verizon Wireless’ director of retail sales, Scott Langley, recently came together to celebrate the successful collaboration. Eileen C., a domestic violence survivor, shared the experiences she had that led her to Project Phoenix and the opportunity this program provided.

“The business I started is Admin On Call,” said Eileen. “It’s an administrative support service for entrepreneurs, home-based business and small business owners. We do email management, travel, calendar management, file maintenance, anything that you need to run your back office.”

The HopeLine from Verizon program connects survivors of domestic violence to vital resources, funds organizations nationwide and recycles used phones to help protect the environment. Hopeline is part of Verizon Wireless’ ongoing efforts to support survivors of domestic violence and the organizations that serve them. Since 2001, Verizon Wireless has donated more than $21 million in cash grants to its partner agencies.


Photo from Left to Right: Randi Bregman, executive director, Vera House; El-Java William Abdul-Qadir, program director, South Side Innovation Center; Scott Langley, director of retail sales, Verizon Wireless Upstate New York Region; and Joanne Lenweaver, WISE Women’s Business Center