Congratulations! On Wednesday January 28th, 12 local Spanish-speaking small business owners completed their Fuerza Local Accelerator 6-week program equipped with important skills for owning and operating their businesses. Through the 12-course class, students learned about marketing, business planning, customer service, and financial management by participating in an eMoneyPool while being guided through responsible lines of credit to ensure lasting small-business success. Through the financial guidance, each member saved up to $1,000 during the course of the class and upon graduation received an equal scholarship from Fuerza Local. Each student also opens a line of credit at Arizona-based MariSol Federal Credit Union.
The goal of the Accelerator Program is to educate business owners so they can elevate themselves and their communities. Carlos Velena, Director of Fuerza Local said, “People cannot really get out of poverty unless they begin to elevate the prosperity in their neighborhoods, and a lot of it comes from the small-business base, by helping these businesses learn to thrive through simple changes and improvements in their practices, we are empowering these businesses to support themselves and their families, and build a stronger community.”
Recent graduate, Ceci Melendez from The Cake Art Studio said, “My experience in the Fuerza Local Accelerator has been life changing. Not only was the education instrumental for our business growth, but also the opportunity to build strong strategic alliances with other entrepreneurs is priceless”. Ceci is now one of 34 successful individuals that have participated in this class since its beginning in 2014.
By learning these important skills and gaining access to new capital, these business owners are better able to successfully manage and expand their businesses. This brings greater wealth and opportunity to themselves and their communities, as they contribute to the local economy by hiring locals and using local business services.
Another January graduate, Diego King of The King’s Cleaning Services added, “The accelerator program was a very helpful tool to reinforce some concepts and clarify others.”
Congratulations to the graduates who invested in themselves: Jaime Garcia from JG repair services Jorge & Zaira Batista, Diego Rios from The King Cleaning Services Ceci Melendez from Cake Art Studio Leticia & Jose Gamiz from Los Gamiz Imports Marisol Maqueda & Guillermo Lopez from M & I Party Rentals Celia Ramos from Polar Express Cooling & Heating Aracelys Gonzalez from Latinos Creciendo Oscar Benjamin Carrillo from Benson's Barber Shop Luis Ventura from L.V. Construction Nydia Espinoza from Arizona Food Carts Jose & Karen Bautista from The Detailing Pro's.
Fuerza Local, meaning “Local Strength” in Spanish, is Local First Arizona’s Spanish language initiative. Local First Arizona was the first local business coalition in the country to implement such an initiative which works to encourage low-income Latinos to think entrepreneurially to create a pathway to prosperity for themselves and their families. In addition to the Accelerator Program, Fuerza Local also hosts the annual Tianguis Festival and hosts regular networking mixers to connect Spanish-speaking business owners with one another. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/FuerzaLocal.