When a woman graduates our Building Economic Self Sufficiency (BESS) program, she is equipped with the tools she needs to rebuild, reinvent and transform her life and often, the lives of her children. Just ask Gessell.
Gessell – a mother, a survivor of partner abuse and a proud graduate of BESS – had a dream to launch her own cleaning business. After getting her business license, she knew she needed some help to proceed. She heard about BESS from a friend and enrolled. She soon found the knowledge and guidance to successfully further her business.
“When I joined the BESS program, I was at the stage where I needed to rebrand. I didn’t know much about branding. I didn’t have a slogan, a mission statement, a vision statement, a marketing plan or a business plan. And now I do,” says Gessel.
Over the course of the two-week program, Gessell learned fundamentals that will benefit her beyond her business. “We learned how to carry ourselves. I got a feel for different personalities and perspectives. I really improved my people skills,” she says.
BESS graduates like Gessell receive customized training and skills help them gain confidence and independence. “The career developer continued to work with me two hours a week, helping me with my business plan, business questions, computer skills, and my website, basically with everything. I was never felt alone,” says Gessell.
Without the BESS program, Gessell doesn’t believe she’d be as far along with her business as she is now. Gessel believes the skills she has learned have helped her be a better parent to her 13 year old son, in addition to equipping and motivating her for future business success.
In five years, Gessell sees her cleaning business thriving in a market that has a million dollar potential. And that’s exactly what she’s aiming for. She has ambitions to grow and franchise. Gessell is determined to use the business not just to make money but to also help others.
Gessell is a shining example of how Interval House and our BESS program transform lives. With the support of our generous donors, we can continue to make a life-changing difference.
“I would tell any potential Interval House donor that they’re sowing into good soil,” says Gessell. “The seed you plant may look small but it has deep roots and will grow into a mighty tree. Your donations help women rise up in strength.”