Marga Fripp, Founder Empowered Women International

Marga Fripp is the Founder and President of Empowered Women International.

The award-winning social entrepreneur, and international consultant in art marketing and entrepreneurship with a focus on women, is a former journalist and a native of Romania with over 17 years of experience in solving social problems through the arts, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Fripp is passionate about training, coaching and inspiring women artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs to pursue their passions. She worked with thousands of women in the US and internationally, and helped them to start up or grow businesses that fuel innovation, opportunity and social change.

In May 2002, Marga created Empowered Women International to give voice and create entrepreneurial opportunities for immigrant, refugee and other marginalized women. Over the past ten years, Marga’s effective and passionate leadership turned EWI from a volunteer-run program to an award-winning organization with more than 3,500 supporters, over 2,500 women beneficiaries, and more than $1 million generated in donated services.

Empowered Women International was named “one of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region“ by the Catalogue for Philanthropy.

Marga and her work have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Alexandria Gazette, WETA and have appeared on The Voice of America Television and WUSA 9News, among others. She received many awards including Living Legends of Alexandria, (Nominee), 2011, Arts Build Communities Award 2010 by the Virginians for the Arts, Alex Awards 2009 by Alexandria Commission for the Arts, the Enterprise Award, Catalogue for Philanthropy 2008, Virginia House and Senate Commendation, 2006, Making a Difference Award, Soroptimist International, Arlington, 2006, the Cultural Affairs Award, the Alexandria Commission on Women, 2005, and the Governor of Maryland’s Award for Service and Volunteerism, 2003.

About Empowered Women International

Empowered Women International is an award-winning nonprofit organization that channels the entrepreneurial drive and creative talents of high-potential immigrant, refugee, and low-income women in the Greater Washington DC Metro Area into micro-businesses that create jobs, provide sustainable incomes, and allow them to integrate into the community and pursue the American Dream.

We offer a holistic model of empowerment and use the power of the arts to bring people together, empower women, and build multicultural understanding. Art has exceptional storytelling and healing qualities and transcends language, cultural, and economic barriers.

Economic and self-empowerment are powerful tools to liberate and transform each woman, so she can achieve independence and self-sufficiency. EWI’s strategy is to empower the whole woman, not only teaching her the skills she needs to launch and grow a business, but using peer-to-peer relationships, a mentor family and a network of support that helps women build confidence, connect in the community, and recognize their power as changemakers.

Check out our monthly series of women entrepreneurs who are not afraid to dream big, embrace chance, and overcome adversity. If you know someone who can benefit from our services, send her our way. To reach me, email Marga C. Fripp, EWI founder and president at

From Stories to Storybooks: Building Bridges Between Many Different Worlds

June 2013, Empowered Women International — In this article, Marga Fripp shares the story of Sushmita Mazumdar, a natural connector who wonders about everything and everyone. Her childlike appreciation for the world around her and her desire to inspire everyone to see in it what she does is what makes Mazumdar such a special artist.

“There are people sitting right next to us, and we don’t know their stories!” insists book artist, writer, and educator Sushmita Mazumdar, whose chosen form of artistic expression is hand-making books, most of them true stories.

These are brought to life using vivid colors, captivating design, and a variety of unusual materials. Though a talented graphic artist, Mazumdar is not an illustrator, which has forced her to devise imaginative ways to make her stories visually stimulating without relying on the drawings used in most children’s books.

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The Secret to Paulette Mpouma's Magical Memory Game

May 2013, Be Inkandescent magazine — In this article, Empowered Women International Founder Marga Fripp shares the inspirational story of Paulette Mpouma, who came to EWI in 2011 with an idea that stemmed from spending time playing games with her children as a way to teach them about their home country, Cameroon, and Africa in general.

“I was concerned by how little many people know about Africa, so I sought to create a product that would teach geography, history, religion, and cultural studies in a fun, creative way that would appeal to a wide audience,” she explains.

Based on a lesson that she has taught her children—“If you don’t go to school enough, you have to pay for what you don’t know”—players are encouraged to roll the dice to advance around the continent, earning money for knowledge that they have and paying out for what they don’t know.

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D'Ellizia: Making the World Sweeter, One Cake at a Time

April 2013, Be Inkandescent magazine — “Here at EWI, we know these women can and will succeed,” says Marga Fripp. “Each year, we work with dozens of budding entrepreneurs who have a great idea, and the ambition to turn it into a successful business.”

Case in point: An inspirational story written by Jeremy Brandt-Vorel, an EWI volunteer, about Elda Larue and Lyzbeth Monard. These graduates of Empowered Women International’s Entrepreneur Training for Success program are the creators of delicious cake pops that have become a birthday party staple.

“We’re so excited to have them be part of EWI community, and we look forward to watching them grow and prosper,” Fripp shares.

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Necessity is the Mother of Invention

March 2013, Be Inkandescent magazine — In 2001, nine days after September 11, Marga Fripp immigrated to the US after a medical emergency with her newborn son, who suffered a brain stroke two days after he was born.

“My husband, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Romania, and I had no plans to come to the United States, but this medical situation changed everything for us,” she explains. “We were told that our son might never speak, hear, see, or be able to walk. We came to America like many immigrants, with hope and faith that what we would find here would save our son’s life.”

How did this mother help her son — and the other women immigrants she met upon her arrival? Her story will impress and inspire you to be all you can be, too.

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