In February, several partners of The Way Home including the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston, the Houston Housing Authority, Memorial Assistance Ministries, New Hope Housing, and SEARCH Homeless Services, Inc., partnered with the PopUp Business School to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to individuals formerly experiencing homelessness.
What is the Pop-Up Business School? The Pop-Up Business is an event that spans over a two-week period that is designed to help people launch their very own businesses without debt. Anyone is welcome to participate in the school and the course is completely free. The Pop-Up Business School’s unique and innovative model makes entrepreneurism accessible to everyone, giving individuals – including those who previously experienced homelessness – an opportunity to create their own future.
We know Permanent Supportive Housing combined with supportive services is the key to ending homelessness and that increasing access to income can be critical for those exiting homelessness. We asked Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM), one of The Way Home partners who participated in the Pop-Up Business School, why they made the decision to partner with the business school.
“MAM’s Employment Services program often sees clients who have dreams of opening their own business,” said Martha Macris, President & CEO of Memorial Assistance Ministries. “While we have no formal entrepreneurship program, we have been supportive and provided occasional volunteer mentors. We know that this can be a helpful revenue stream, and since we already had clients who we knew would be interested, it was an easy decision.”
Karina J., who participates in MAM’s employment services program, viewed the experience with PopUp Business School as extremely valuable to her new business. “This was an incredible opportunity for us, to have the opportunity to promote our business’, for free, at a venue like Memorial City Mall,” said Karina.
Karina’s business, ‘Nutritious + Delicious,’ focuses on promoting healthy eating habits and cutting out sugar. She says her overall goal is to offer and sell a variety of breakfast options. “My mom has 25 years of experience with manufacturing kolaches which gave me the idea for this business,” said Karina. “I was able to set-up shop and sell my kolaches directly to people at Memorial City Mall, I couldn’t believe it.”
Karina says one of the most valuable experiences she had over the two-week course, was learning how to create her own website, for no cost at all. She says she’s currently working on finalizing her web page and even plans on having some professional photos taken to put up on the site.
“My plan is to grow my business within the city of Houston, whether that be with school districts, private agencies, call centers, and just help the community and even offer job support,” says Karina. “We live in a country with an abundance of food and this is my way to give back.”
To learn more about the PopUp Business School, click here.
To learn more about Memorial Assistance Ministries, click here.