The WCEC Women’s Business Center was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Corrections: Local, Empowered, Accountable, and Determined (LEAD) Reentry Initiative to serve as a community partner, providing technical assistance and entrepreneurial education to women exiting the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women and other criminal justice institutes. Rana shanwani, Takreem Laureate of 2010 for the young Entrprenuer category is the the executive director of The WCEC Women’s Business Center. Rana Shanawani is the founder of BIDAYA (Boosting and Inspiring Dynamic Youth Achievement), a Syrian non-profit organization dedicated to providing young, disadvantaged adults with the financial and technical support needed to turn their viable business propositions into successful ventures. She is also a Founder of Refugee Outreach International, a nonprofit which helps refugees resettle in their new countries. Ms. Shanawani freelances as a public speaking coach for Own the Room. She received her Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins, and her Bachelors in biology from Cornell University, and also holds three certifications in health and human rights. “By investing in their potential, we pave the way for a more inclusive and resilient society, where every woman's journey is met with support, opportunity, and the belief that she can thrive beyond her past," Rana Shanawani, Executive Director, WCEC Women’s Business Center. The WCEC will work with women returning to the community, providing eCommerce education to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency, allowing returning citizens to compete in today’s economy and combat recidivism. “The WCEC believes in empowering women leaving the prison system through entrepreneurial education; we will provide the tools to rebuild their lives, regain their independence, and rewrite their narratives. By investing in their potential, we pave the way for a more inclusive and resilient society, where every woman's journey is met with support, opportunity, and the belief that she can thrive beyond her past," Rana Shanawani, Executive Director, WCEC Women’s Business Center. "We are proud to have the WCEC Women's Business Center support women exiting the prison system with entrepreneurial education. Our NJ LEAD partners provide transformational experiences for those returning to their communities from incarceration. True transformation happens when we provide the tools for self-sufficiency, and through the WCEC and all of our NJ LEAD-funded partners, we are providing hope, resilience, and entrepreneurial spirit that will uplift not only these women but also our entire community," Selma Morris, Director, Center for Effective Reentry Initiatives.
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