By Marga Fripp
Empowered Women International
Here at EWI, we know these women can and will succeed. Each year, we work with dozens of budding entrepreneurs who have a great idea, and the ambition to turn it into a successful business.
Below, you’ll find the inspirational story of Paulette Mpouma, and how she has progressed in the year since completing EWI’s Entrepreneurship Program.
We’re so excited to have these creative, hardworking entrepreneurs be part of EWI community, and we look forward to watching them grow and prosper.
Paulette Mpouma’s Africa Memory Game
Photo Courtesy: Emily Friedman, WAMU 88.5
Paulette Mpouma first came to EWI in 2011 with an idea that stemmed from spending time playing games with her children as a way to teach them about their home country, Cameroon, and Africa in general.
Concerned by how little many people know about Africa, Mpouma sought to create a product that would teach geography, history, religion, and cultural studies in a fun, creative way that would appeal to a wide audience.
Based on a lesson that she has taught her children—“If you don’t go to school enough, you have to pay for what you don’t know”—players are encouraged to roll the dice to advance around the continent, earning money for knowledge that they have and paying out for what they don’t know.
After creating “The Africa Memory Game,” Mpouma came to EWI seeking advice on how to help her product stay on the market long-term and for help marketing it to a greater audience. In time, her game became a bigger sensation than anticipated, and Mpouma attributes much of her success to Empowered Women International and the Entrepreneur Training for Success program.
Today, the market for her game continues to grow, just as Mpouma explained that once you finish EWI’s Entrepreneur Training Program, the learning and services don’t just stop. The community network that EWI offers provides continuous support for the women who are a part of the classes. As a result, not only is Mpouma’s business growing, but EWI also “helps measure what you can do. It’s a community-building experience, similar to fabric woven together, women working together and connecting through their work.”
Through an EWI mentor, Mpouma was interviewed in December 2011 for Voice of America.
On March 9, 2012, Mpouma and “The African Memory Game” were featured on NPR, through another EWI connection. After the interview aired, Mpouma’s inbox immediately began to fill up. Not only did she receive emails from the United States, but also from individuals in Africa who were interested in her product. Within a few days, she was completely sold out.
“The African Memory Game” is currently sold online and in 16 stores throughout the United States, in cities such as Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, NYC, Dallas, and Nashville, TN.
About Empowered Women International
Empowered Women International is an award-winning nonprofit organization that channels the entrepreneurial drive and creative talents of high-potential immigrant, refugee, and low-income women in the Greater Washington DC Metro Area into micro-businesses that create jobs, provide sustainable incomes, and allow them to integrate into the community and pursue the American Dream.
We offer a holistic model of empowerment and use the power of the arts to bring people together, empower women, and build multicultural understanding. Art has exceptional storytelling and healing qualities and transcends language, cultural, and economic barriers.
Economic and self-empowerment are powerful tools to liberate and transform each woman, so she can achieve independence and self-sufficiency. EWI’s strategy is to empower the whole woman, not only teaching her the skills she needs to launch and grow a business, but using peer-to-peer relationships, a mentor family, and a network of support that helps women build confidence, connect in the community, and recognize their power as changemakers.
Check out our monthly series of women entrepreneurs who are not afraid to dream big, embrace chance, and overcome adversity. If you know someone who can benefit from our services, send her our way. To reach me, email Marga C. Fripp, EWI founder and president, at firstname.lastname@example.org.