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MARI VILLA

CEO of Villa Business Consulting Inc.

Success:

2-year contract with YWCA O‘ahu for MBDA EWOC Business Center certification training

Villa Business Consulting, Inc., (VBC) was founded by Marí Villa as CEO, and her husband, José as COO.

Marí identifies as a bilingual Mexican woman who speaks Spanish and English. She took a leap of faith by establishing and starting her company in March 2019. She has over 21 years in business development and 19 years of experience in grant writing, fundraising, and grant compliance. She was a faculty media adviser and adjunct professor at St. John Fisher College and Hawai‘i Pacific University (HPU) where she taught communications and journalism for more than seven years. She also was a reporter for Univision Communication, a journalist and news producer for radio, television, print, web, and social media.

VBC helps build up non-profit and for-profit organizations by providing a variety of services that lead them to grow and flourish into successful businesses. “We are the Team Behind Their Team. We want to see them succeed. We get excited for them,” Ms. Villa said. Services offered include workshops and assistance with getting federally certified for U.S. and state government contract set-asides, grant writing, business plans, 501(c)3 applications, accounting services, and guidance to ensure organizations are grant ready.

The federal government generally sets aside 23% of contracts, including those focused on Women-Owned, Minority-Owned, and/or Veteran-Owned certified companies. In addition, about 1,500 U.S. corporations doing business with the federal government set aside 23% of all their contracts for these types of certified companies; approximately $500 billion in private sector contracts are secured annually by the federal government.

VBC is thrilled to work with the YWCA O‘ahu for the new Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Business Center’s certification training for minority women business owners, thanks to funding from MBDA. Trainings discuss the benefits of certification and the multiple steps in the process. “Within the class, we first explain the program to them, we explain why it’s important, we give them examples, and once we do that, then we show them how to get certified,” Ms. Villa said. The goal of this class is to provide the tools necessary for a business to increase market access and gain a competitive advantage. Some topics that will be covered are the Minority Supplier Diversity Program, Introduction to Minority Business Enterprise Certification (MBE), Minority Business Enterprise Certification Benefits, and so much more.

The primary goal behind the MBDA EWOC certification training is to ensure that more women-businesses get certified, and to generate economic growth for local businesses which is a benefit to the whole community.

She encourages, “You got to believe in yourself… believe in yourself, believe in your product, but more than anything is know your product inside and out and know that it’s something... do your homework before you start and see if it’s something people need. One of the things we know is that some people do some things that we do, and other people do other things that we do, but nobody does the entire thing that we do... once you do that, jump with two feet. Jump with all of yourself. There are going to be a lot of hours”.