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MiSpringboard Helps Social Enterprise With Nonprofit Formation

Detroit-based jewelry making company Rebel Nell utilized Varnum's free legal assistance program to form a nonprofit to help women facing barriers to employment.

Amy Petersen was drawn to her mission of empowering women after living near a women’s shelter and meeting the women who took refuge there. She started Rebel Nell in 2013, hiring homeless and formerly homeless women as creative designers, teaching them to craft unique, wearable art out of fallen graffiti and starting them on the path to upward mobility.

Although Rebel Nell is a commercial business, its ultimate mission is to employ women who face barriers to employment and empowering them to a life of independence. Through the MiSpringboard program, Varnum assisted Petersen with the formation and organization of a non-profit arm to provide training, education, coaching and mentorship services.

“I think for many entrepreneurs, myself included, if you start looking at what it costs to really launch a business, it will deter you,” Petersen said. “So to have the ability to get the legal services you need, so you feel comfortable and you’re in a space where you feel confident about it without having to take on the financial burden, is such a blessing.”

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