YWCA Hamilton’s PowerUp Program gives local entrepreneur a boost
As one of the four founders of MUKA, a Hamilton clothing store and media studio that offers unique, artistic merchandise and media content, Lisa Wang had a clear vision for setting up her business.
She knew that she wanted MUKA to cater to individuals and businesses looking for thoughtful, vibrant, and creative designs. At the same time, she wanted to create more opportunities for Two Spirit LGBTQIA+, racialized, and AAPI communities, in order for members of these communities to see themselves represented in authentic and nuanced ways.
But when it came to taking the business to the next level, Lisa needed support.
That’s when she learned about YWCA Hamilton’s PowerUp Business program offered through the Milli Gould Entrepreneurial Centre. This free, 10-week program focusses on creating a business plan, building resilience, marketing, finance, operations and legal, as well as offering lectures from trained business advisors and industry experts.
“I have attended similar things in the past – but the one from YWCA just seemed more comprehensive,” said Lisa. “So I thought that was a really good opportunity for me to get a systematic education to better run my business.”
For Lisa, the program was the perfect thing to help zero in on exactly how to plan for her business’s future. While it wasn’t always easy to manage the additional workload on top of running MUKA, she appreciated the in-depth nature of the program.
“I really loved it. It was very intensive,” she said. “There was a lot of accountability in this program – they went through the information and we had follow-up assignments, and then there would be feedback – I found that really helpful and valuable.”
The PowerUp program gave Lisa a deeper understanding of how to expand her business and diversify revenue streams – and, improved her overall confidence in decision-making.
“I definitively have noticed changes. The way I handle my business is more strategic and more focused – as well as getting a better grasp of where to invest my time and money, she said. “I just have an overall deeper awareness and understanding of how everything works together, and I feel like I have a much better grasp on my businesses from an objective operational point of view,” she said.
In the future, Lisa hopes to expand MUKA to include offering design services to other organizations who reflect the business’ values – a step that the PowerUp program helped prepare her for.
“We thought it would be a good idea to partner with other brands or non-profits that could use our help with designing swag, or producing animation,” she said. “It was so helpful to have some guidance on how to network and support and communicate with people in the non-profit arena.”
To learn more about our PowerUp Program, and other programs offered through the Milli Gould Entrepreneurial Centre, visit our website at www.ywcahamilton.org/milli-gould-centre/.