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Celebrating Fresh Start Women’s Foundation 2021 PVCC Grads - Update 2022

Celebrating Fresh Start Women’s Foundation 2021 PVCC Grads


Small Business Start-up Certificate for PVCC Women in Business

Fresh Start Women’s Foundation is hosting Information Sessions from April to July 2022.

For more information about the program please contact

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Congratulations to the 12 Fresh Start women who recently graduated from Paradise Valley Community College’s occupational certificate (CCL) program. The CCL is designed for individuals who want to become small business owners, and through the college’s partnership with Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a cohort was developed to support women and ensure that they have the very best foundation to start their own business.

Under the direction of PVCC’s Dr. Dina Preston-Ortiz, the occupational certificate program is thriving. “From a mustard seed, we have grown this program, graduating more than 100 students since it began in 2010, many who have gone on to open their business or increased their earning capacities,” Preston-Ortiz said. “This program helps ensure that graduates have the very best foundation to start their own small businesses. I couldn’t be prouder of these women who lift themselves up and put in the work to better their lives, the lives of their family, and contribute economically to their communities.”

Surveys completed at the end of the program show that 64 percent of graduates go on to run or start a business; the median change in income for graduates increases by up to $5,000; and there is statistically significant evidence that at least 46 percent of completers experience some increase in annual income, up to the range of $35,000 to $50,000, the year after completing the program.

While anyone can register for the Small Business Start-Up CCL program at PVCC, the college’s award-winning partnership with Fresh Start is designated for their clients and is offered at the Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center. This fast-track program is designed to be completed within a year and offers supplemental support for the cohort through collaboration and Fresh Start’s comprehensive, wrap-around services.

“We could not be happier for the women who successfully completed this program or more grateful for the partnership we have with PVCC,” says Kim McWaters, President and CEO of Fresh Start. “Offering the women we serve access to this program in-house allows us to provide the support they need to graduate.

“Our holistic approach equips women with the tools and resources necessary to build strength and balance across key dimensions of life, ultimately giving them the ability to overcome any challenges that stand in the way of achieving long-term success. We celebrated a 92 percent completion rate last year, indicating that our approach and partnership with PVCC is working,” McWaters said.

Fresh Start’s mission is to help women improve their lives by equipping them with the career and education tools necessary to achieve self-sufficiency, while providing support services like social work, family law support, and mentoring - all of which creates changes that has a positive impact not only for them, but for their children and families.

Fresh Start begins recruitment for this program each spring and the program’s classes are held at Fresh Start beginning in September by PVCC faculty. The courses are offered in a hybrid format, meeting in-person only once a week on Saturdays at the center. For more information about the program please contact

Check out the program’s information page here.


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