Revolutionary Women’s Business Center to Open in Phoenix


The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) ad in January that a grant of $ 150,000 for the launch of a business center for women would be given to the non-profit organization Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. After months of preparation, the new entrepreneurs and experienced users can expect a “soft opening” to be available online as early as May.

The SBA grant in the amount of $ 150,000 will allow a business center for women to focus on “empowering” minority women. But the resources will also be available to all entrepreneurs, regardless of their gender or social status. Resources provided will include: personalized coaching, workshops, microcredits, networking, technical assistance and other resources that can enhance the entrepreneurial skill set.

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These opportunities will be available virtually throughout the initial stages and will eventually adjust to in-person appointments at the Buckeye Commerce Center, home to one of Chicanos Por La Causa’s other divisions.

This division, Prestamos CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution), will oversee the Women’s Business Center. Prestamos CDFI is one of several community development programs with Chicanos Por La Causa that has been able to provide loans, like the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan, to help small businesses. Lisa Gonzalez, CDFI Prestamos member of the business development department, says the Women’s Business Center will go beyond that.

“The PPP loan is more like a band-aid,” Gonzalez said. “It’s going to get you out of this, but the Women’s Business Center is supposed to provide security. This can ensure that you have the groundwork in place so that when a pandemic strikes you don’t get hit as badly as you have all the resources you can pivot on. ”

Minority companies have been particularly affected by the pandemic, emotionally and financially. Figures from an American Chamber of Commerce Press release show that 78% of minority-owned businesses feared they might have to close in May 2020. Brenda Perez, owner of small Textiles Curiosidades Mexico, experienced this firsthand as she watched in distress as businesses shut down in Desert Sky Mall, the headquarters of her small business, around the same time of year. last.

“Little by little, we saw the shopping center with fewer and fewer people. Then suddenly one store closed, then another. We were worried, ”Perez said.

Around the same time last year, Perez was preparing for the top grossing time of year, Cinco de Mayo, but was cut short by the effects of the pandemic. This year, Perez has a sense of stability after receiving a PPP loan from Prestamos CDFI. She said the loan was “huge” for them, but she still hopes to receive more security for her small business at the Women’s Business Center.

“Once I read what they offer when it comes to individual courses, especially in accounting and marketing, I signed up. I’m so excited to get a call from them and get involved in their program, ”said Perez.

Eager entrepreneurs like Perez have a few more weeks to wait before these opportunities are at their fingertips. Lisa Gonzalez of Prestamos CDFI clarified that the startup process still needs some finishing touches, including signing a lease and launching the official website. In the meantime, Laura Suarez, director of programs at the Women’s Business Center, recommended that entrepreneurs prepare to explore the centre’s resources, especially those related to financial literacy.

Suarez said: “Time and time again entrepreneurs live day to day with their finances and generally don’t understand what it means to have a profit, balance sheet or statement of cash flow, and what it means. means for the future of their business. “

Suarez is excited to help provide these resources that will lay the foundation for entrepreneurs. She explained that much of this excitement stems from her roots, coming from a family whose income depended on her father’s small business. She remembered “living on rice and beans,” so she is optimistic that this program will help this generation of small business owners have a better chance of getting strong from scratch.

Lisa Gonzalez of Prestamos CDFI is equally excited to launch the Women’s Business Center. She called the program a “game changer,” because of its potential as a “one-stop-shop” for entrepreneurs trying to achieve their dreams, especially during the pandemic.

Gonzalez is eager to get through the start-up process and is actively looking for organizations that might want to help keep the Women’s Business Center running and alive.

“Any business wishing to get involved in this area or making donations, or even just wanting to be a part of it so that you can see the next generation of businesses grow, please contact us so we can find a way to connect,” Gonzalez said.

Anyone trying to coordinate with the Women’s Business Center can contact Program Director Laura Suarez at [email protected].

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