Empowering Warmth

To help homeless people stay warm in the winter, Veronika Scott created the EMPWR Coat. This water-resistant, self-heating coat transforms into a sleeping bag for nighttime and a crossbody bag for the off-season. It began as a class project. Veronika and her classmates were challenged to design something that fills a need in Detroit. She came up with her innovative coat after doing research at homeless shelters. While the coats are definitely useful, Veronika realized that many homeless people needed more long-lasting help—jobs. To give homeless people a chance at financial stability, she started The Empowerment Plan. This non-profit employs individuals from shelters to make the coats, then donates them to people living on the street around the country. The company’s workforce is able to give back while getting back on their own feet.

The Empowerment Plan

Coats & Jobs for Homeless People

Empowering Warmth

To help homeless people stay warm in the winter, Veronika Scott created the EMPWR Coat. This water-resistant, self-heating coat transforms into a sleeping bag for nighttime and a crossbody bag for the off-season. It began as a class project. Veronika and her classmates were challenged to design something that fills a need in Detroit. She came up with her innovative coat after doing research at homeless shelters. While the coats are definitely useful, Veronika realized that many homeless people needed more long-lasting help—jobs. To give homeless people a chance at financial stability, she started The Empowerment Plan. This non-profit employs individuals from shelters to make the coats, then donates them to people living on the street around the country. The company’s workforce is able to give back while getting back on their own feet.
Philanthropy

Grommet Launch Conversation

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Veronika
    Veronika

    Hi, I'm Veronika Scott, founder of The Empowerment Plan. Our mission is to educate, employ, and empower homeless individuals to create a better life for themselves and their families while producing a humanitarian product for those in need. I am excited to share our story here on The Grommet.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:29 PM

    How did you come up with the idea of the EMPWR coat?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:32 PM

    The EMPWR coat began as a class project when I was an industrial design student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Our assignment was to “design something that fills a need”. I chose to work with shelters in the area to find a product that could help people who were homeless. I went to the Neighborhood Service Organization three times a week for 5 months. I worked closely with the people there to come up with a design. The aha moment came later when I realized I needed to focus on creating jobs, not just coats.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:32 PM

    What are some reactions when people first see or receive the coat?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:33 PM

    When we give out the coat, we tell people that it’s a work in progress and we want to hear how we can improve it. We get a lot of feedback on the design and people are really excited to be the ones taking part in the design. People get most excited to hear who’s making it and to learn it was made by someone who had been in a similar situation.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:34 PM

    How do you think providing coats to homeless people making a larger impact?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:34 PM

    We estimate that each coat reduces at least 1 emergency visit in its lifespan, which is an average cost of about $4,200 per hospital visit. Beyond that, we believe our real impact isn’t from the coat itself but from who we are employing to make the coats. We offer real, full-time employment, so that each individual can move out of the shelter permanently and can gain financial independence while acquiring skills on the job.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:35 PM

    What are some unexpected rewards and challenges that you have encountered in starting The Empowerment Plan?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:35 PM

    At the beginning, it was just a class project. It wasn’t until the day after I graduated from college that I considered officially launching a company. I never could have expected the support and the demand over the past 5 years. I’ve grown and changed a lot and I’m really lucky to be doing what I’m doing now. The women we employ have a huge impact on my life and continue to inspire me to push boundaries and to drive the organization forward.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:36 PM

    Where do you see The Empowerment Plan going in the future?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:36 PM

    We know our impact comes from creating job opportunities and are looking forward to increasing the number of individuals we can employ by expanding our operation to other cities. To become fully sustainable by 2020, we will be launching a retail line of products to fund our employment mode, therefore increasing our impact. Our goal is to employ 600 people across 4 cities and to produce 60,000 coats over the next 5 years. We have big plans for expansion and increased impact and are confident that our model can and should be replicated.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

 

The Empowerment Plan

Coats & Jobs for Homeless People

Empowering Warmth

To help homeless people stay warm in the winter, Veronika Scott created the EMPWR Coat. This water-resistant, self-heating coat transforms into a sleeping bag for nighttime and a crossbody bag for the off-season.

It began as a class project. Veronika and her classmates were challenged to design something that fills a need in
Detroit. She came up with her innovative coat after doing research at homeless shelters.

While the coats are definitely useful, Veronika realized that many homeless people needed more long-lasting help—jobs. To give homeless people a chance at financial stability, she started The Empowerment Plan. This non-profit employs individuals from shelters to make the coats, then donates them to people living on the street around the country. The company’s workforce is able to give back while getting back on their own feet.
Read More Read Less
This coat changes into a sleeping bag. And changes lives.

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Veronika
    Veronika

    Hi, I'm Veronika Scott, founder of The Empowerment Plan. Our mission is to educate, employ, and empower homeless individuals to create a better life for themselves and their families while producing a humanitarian product for those in need. I am excited to share our story here on The Grommet.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:29 PM

    How did you come up with the idea of the EMPWR coat?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:32 PM

    The EMPWR coat began as a class project when I was an industrial design student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Our assignment was to “design something that fills a need”. I chose to work with shelters in the area to find a product that could help people who were homeless. I went to the Neighborhood Service Organization three times a week for 5 months. I worked closely with the people there to come up with a design. The aha moment came later when I realized I needed to focus on creating jobs, not just coats.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:32 PM

    What are some reactions when people first see or receive the coat?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:33 PM

    When we give out the coat, we tell people that it’s a work in progress and we want to hear how we can improve it. We get a lot of feedback on the design and people are really excited to be the ones taking part in the design. People get most excited to hear who’s making it and to learn it was made by someone who had been in a similar situation.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:34 PM

    How do you think providing coats to homeless people making a larger impact?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:34 PM

    We estimate that each coat reduces at least 1 emergency visit in its lifespan, which is an average cost of about $4,200 per hospital visit. Beyond that, we believe our real impact isn’t from the coat itself but from who we are employing to make the coats. We offer real, full-time employment, so that each individual can move out of the shelter permanently and can gain financial independence while acquiring skills on the job.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:35 PM

    What are some unexpected rewards and challenges that you have encountered in starting The Empowerment Plan?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:35 PM

    At the beginning, it was just a class project. It wasn’t until the day after I graduated from college that I considered officially launching a company. I never could have expected the support and the demand over the past 5 years. I’ve grown and changed a lot and I’m really lucky to be doing what I’m doing now. The women we employ have a huge impact on my life and continue to inspire me to push boundaries and to drive the organization forward.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia
    12/21/2015 12:36 PM

    Where do you see The Empowerment Plan going in the future?

  • Veronika
    Veronika – Special Guest
    12/21/2015 12:36 PM

    We know our impact comes from creating job opportunities and are looking forward to increasing the number of individuals we can employ by expanding our operation to other cities. To become fully sustainable by 2020, we will be launching a retail line of products to fund our employment mode, therefore increasing our impact. Our goal is to employ 600 people across 4 cities and to produce 60,000 coats over the next 5 years. We have big plans for expansion and increased impact and are confident that our model can and should be replicated.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.