Maria Gutierrez came to CommunityEnterprise™ as a referral from the Small Business Development Center in Everett. After being laid off from a wedding gown alteration job at a national bridal shop, Maria decided to pursue her dream of starting her own sewing and alteration business. With years of experience running her own business in Mexico before migrating to the United States, she knew she could do it, but she lacked the necessary financial resources and equipment. A victim of domestic violence and a single mom, Maria and her daughter are currently receiving housing assistance and food stamps to augment their daily needs. After completing our First Step course, we connected Maria to the Latina Education Training Institute to help improve her English and helped her secure a loan of $1,500 to buy a commercial grade sewing machine and launch Yolanda’s Alterations in a subleased storefront space in a busy part of downtown Everett.