Rizos Curls has officially landed at Ulta, and it’s the first Latina curly hair brand to do so
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All those with curly and textured hair, listen up! Rizos Curls has officially launched at Ulta, and if you didn’t think this news was major — think again. It’s time to celebrate!

By Jamé Jackson, Yahoo! Life

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All those with curly and textured hair, listen up! Rizos Curls has officially launched at Ulta, and if you didn’t think this news was major — think again. It’s time to celebrate!

Starting June 28, the Latinx-owned and female-led brand is available at 300 Ulta stores and on its website. The wild thing? It is the first Latina-owned curly hair care brand at the retailer. The brand’s founder, Julissa Prado, credits her brand’s customers for putting the brand on Target’s radar and, now, Ulta’s shelves.

Paired with the Ulta rollout (which is undeniably amazing), Rizos Curls is providing a $5,000 grant to a minority-owned business. “So much of our essence is finding ways to give back to our community, give back to the customer that got us here, finding ways to be able to help out however we can on the grassroots level, and be intentional with how we spend our own money,” Prado told Beauty Independent. “Despite having gone through a very hard year last year, we want to make sure to still be able to show up for our customers.”

Get into two of the brand’s beauty products down below, and be sure to shop, shop and shop some more! Seriously, so many of the brand’s products are ALREADY going out of stock. We definitely recommend you run and not walk and head over to Ulta now!

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life.

Latino/latina husband and wife brewery owners share the ingredients of a successful business
LinkedIn
2020 challenged many businesses to shift their thinking and reach customers in ways they never had before. For Del Cielo, developing an e-commerce presence was critical.

Chase for Business

In a market flooded with craft beer, it can be difficult to make a splash. For Bay Area-based Del Cielo Brewing Co., success has come from building a community with a foundation of shared values like diversity and inclusion, supporting local businesses and treating their customers and business partners like family.

Originally from Columbia and Puerto Rico, husband and wife co-founders Luis Castro and Cielomar Cuevas became interested in craft beer when they met in Ohio while Luis was pursuing his MBA. After visiting a number of breweries, one of their shared passions, Castro wanted to add his own unique twist to the craft beer he loved, so he started home brewing for his family and friends. Soon after, he and Cuevas moved to the Bay Area and eventually decided to open up shop in Martinez, CA.

Because Castro and Cuevas decided on a blank canvas of a building, the construction process was complex and time-consuming. After over a year of work, they finally opened their doors in May of 2018.

The dynamic duo of quality and control
The business took off quickly. According to Cuevas, “Luis was brewing, packaging, selling, delivering, and we really needed to grow our team.” She later added, “Prior to the pandemic, we used to have around 10 different beer labels. We’ve been focusing on creating new beers for our customers and now we probably have around 40.”

Del Cielo creates unique flavors that their customers love and is dedicated to using the best ingredients possible, including flavorful hops that provide tropical and fruity flavors with unexpected additions like pink guava, soursop and other fruits from South America. But the real secret ingredient is a culture of inclusion. Castro and Cuevas support local organizations that share their values, and the pair has created a warm and welcoming space with community tables and personalized customer service that make their customers feel like they’re part of the Del Cielo family.

“Everything that we use the card for, we get cash back. It’s like when you get your jeans out of the laundry, and you find $20 — this is great.”

-Luis Castro, Founder, Del Cielo Brewing Co.

While Castro is the brew master, Cuevas is the brand visionary, art directing the eye-catching labels and graphic design for Del Cielo beers such as Dude, You’re Muted!, Órale and Guava Dreams that stand out on shelves and in taprooms all over California. Cuevas loves working with her husband. “We really understand and complement each other and help each other be better in the areas that are not our strong suits,” she says.

To keep up with growth, Castro and Cuevas hired two sales representatives to manage and expand the wholesale territories and used their years-long relationship with Chase for Business to obtain expert financial advice.

Shared values: a match made in heaven
Del Cielo Brewing means “beer from heaven,” so Castro and Cuevas look for more than just business value in their partners — they need a cosmic connection. “When choosing business partners, shared values are critical to us,” says Cuevas. Del Cielo places great importance on inclusive organizations such as the Black is Beautiful, The Hidden Genius Project, The Bay Area Bike Project and Rainbow Community Center, which align perfectly with Chase’s growing diversity and inclusion initiative.

Cuevas and Castro have worked hard to establish a family atmosphere at the brewery, so creating a personal relationship with their friends at Chase was another strong reflection of their values. “I think it’s just the way Chase reacts,” Castro says. “If there’s something that I need urgently, they jump in to figure it out. So we get amazing support from our business relationship managers, Rich, and Majid, at the Chase office. Rich Gomez got us through the whole Small Business Administration approval and the different business credit cards that we needed, making sure we were getting the right products for us without massive fees.”

Castro and Cuevas chose the Chase Ink Business Unlimited® credit card and Chase Ink Business Cash® credit card to give them more flexibility with their business spending. The 1.5% cash back feature on the Ink Business Unlimited card lets them apply rewards earned from purchases toward their balance. And the Ink Business Cash card provides an even higher cash back percentage on select business purchases. Chase helps Castro and Cuevas put more money back into their business every month so they can focus on their community outreach.

“Having a bank that supports other small businesses is really important,” Cuevas says. “One thing we always look for when doing community outreach is to stay local.” She appreciates that Chase has a strong local presence and supports small businesses and nonprofit organizations to strengthen the community. Castro adds that Chase feels like a family to him, with Rich being a true advocate of the businesses he works with and even volunteering to help Del Cielo at events.

Click here to read the full article on Chase for Business.

A Latina-owned business offers healthier food options on Chicago’s West Side
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A Latina owned business, MCM Protein Bar, will be opening its doors to the public this weekend. Healthier food options

By Yukare Nakayama, ABC

CHICAGO, Ill. — A Latina family-owned business, MCM Protein Bar, will be opening its doors to the public this weekend. It offers healthier food options in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood on the West Side, all with a fun Mexican twist!

Owners Monica Aranda, Arasele Calvo, and Marlen Villordo said it took them a year to open their dream business. They all have a background in nutrition.

“I feel like were going to be able to provide something different in this community,” said owner Monica Aranda.

MCM Protein Bar offers healthy and tasty food and drinks, such as their take on the michelada. Instead of alcohol, the michelada is made up of energizing vitamins and seltzer water.

The owners said all their meals are high in protein, offering over five different flavors of protein powder.

Aranda said once they start making profits, they’d like to give back to the community by creating a scholarship program for DACA students.

MCM Protein Bar will open its doors this weekend July 17!

Click here to read the full article on ABC.

7 Networks for Latina Professionals or Entrepreneurs
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Large group of latina women reaching up to the camera

By Lorraine C. Ladish, NBC News

If you are a Latina entrepreneur or professional, you are not alone. The National Women’s Business Council states that Latinas own close to 788,000 businesses in the U.S. One of the best ways to grow as a businesswoman is to network with others who face similar issues and perhaps even share your vision. There are countless business networks out there, and these are just seven that cater specifically to Latinas.

What all these networks have in common is that they are geared towards women, although a couple shared that they may include “a few good men.” They all have a website where you can read more about each of them and sign up if you wish to. They all provide interesting content aimed at entrepreneurs and professional women. The order in which they are listed is absolutely arbitrary, and they are by no means the only Latina business networks that exist today.

1. BeVisible.soy

BeVisible is an online recruiting platform and an online community for Latinas that allows women to connect and collaborate, grow their network, find mentors, interact with peers and find job and educational opportunities.

Latina career women can sign up on their website. There is no fee for the users.

Andrea Guendelman shared with us an anonymous quote from one of their millennial members: “I am drawing on the strength of my community, and am even stronger because of it. Because we are more than a list of accomplishments and professional headshots. We are empowered Latinas ready to take on the world and make ourselves visible.”

2. Hispanic Women in Leadership (HWIL)

HWIL is a nonprofit organization established in Texas in 1989.

HWIL is a service organization committed to promoting the advancement of Hispanics and women in the areas of education, professional interaction, leadership training, mentorship and the perpetuation of Latino culture.

HWIL accepts application requests on their website. There are several membership options, to include volunteers (non paying) and as members.

“In addition to providing College Scholarships, and in line with our strategic plan beginning in 2016, HWIL will begin a Summer Mentorship Program for young ladies in their teens,” said Rita A. Lopez, its president.

3. Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick

The mission of Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick is to create a movement that will empower women to live a healthy, happy, balanced and purposeful life. Their online and live events include conferences, webinars, teleconferences, retreats, workshops, seminars, networking opportunities, coaching, mentoring, and much more. There is a basic (free) and premium (paid) membership. Women may read the advantages of each membership and sign up on the webpage.

“We come in different ages, shapes, shades and sizes. We are SASSY (Smart, Assertive, Strategic, Selfless and Young-at-heart). Whether you are looking for self-improvement tools, social or business connections or career and business development, SSL is here for you,” said Elizabeth King.

4. LatinasinBusiness.us

The goal of LatinasinBusiness.us is to bring together a community of bloggers, writers, vloggers, communicators, and business owners advocating to support, enrich and empower Latinas in business and the workplace.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

Where To Find Scholarships For Latino And Hispanic Students
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Hispanic family looking at a computer screen for scholarship

By Kat Tretina,  Brianna McGurran, Forbes

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hispanic and Latino students were enrolling in college at record numbers. From 2000 to 2016, Latino 18- to 24-year-olds’ college enrollment rate grew from 22% to 39%, according to a 2019 report from UnidosUS, an advocacy group.

Latino high school and college students were significantly impacted by the pandemic, however, as their families were disproportionately affected by job losses and illness, according to a separate report from UnidosUS and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the fall of 2020, the number of first-year Hispanic and Latino college students dropped by 20%, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

If your finances have been affected and you’re worried about how to pay for college, there are many scholarships for Hispanics and Latinos available to help offset the cost.

Where to Search for Scholarships for Latino and Hispanic Students

There are many scholarship opportunities you can use to reduce your college expenses. Unlike student loans, scholarships don’t have to be repaid, so they’re an excellent tool to make higher education more affordable.

If you are Hispanic or Latino, here are some resources that can help you find scholarships that match your needs:

  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). MALDEF maintains a database of scholarship opportunities for the Latino community in the United States. It includes scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and law school students. For students that are undocumented or eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), MALDEF also lists opportunities that don’t ask about your immigration status or require a Social Security number.
  • Act on a Dream. A student-run organization at Harvard University, Act on a Dream has a database of scholarship opportunities for undocumented and DACA students. It includes national, state and regional awards.
  • Fastweb. Fastweb is a general scholarship database that lists more than 1.5 million scholarship opportunities. You can create a profile to get matched with scholarships that fit your credentials, or you can search for available awards. For example, you can search for scholarships for Hispanic female students, or scholarships for certain majors or athletes.

Click here to read the full article on Forbes.

ANDREA MORA: THE LATINA ENTREPRENEUR HELPING BRANDS WITH THEIR MARKETING ONE TIKTOK AT A TIME
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Andrea Mora, who has over 92K TikTok followers, has taken advantage of social media to expand her business. Andrea is seated in a white lace top with her hand under her chin while she smirks at the camera

By , Influencive

One way or another, social media is a huge part of our lives. We use it to access the news, be in touch with people in different parts of the world, share memes, post our photos, and allow others to see a glimpse into our lives. However, there is more to social media than pretty influencers posting their holiday pictures. Andrea Mora, who has over 92K TikTok followers, has taken advantage of social media to expand her business. She is the Latina entrepreneur helping brands with their marketing one TikTok at a time.

If you took a look at Andrea Mora’s TikTok account, you would think she has always led a life of success in front of the cameras. But that is not the reality. That is the life she was able to build for herself thanks to her parents’ hard work and her dedication and desire to make her dreams come true. When she was young, her family was forced to flee Venezuela due to the unsafety.

They spent time in Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Panama. This experience led her to learn new languages, immerse herself in different cultures, and gain the strength she needed to face any obstacles.

Growing up, she taught herself how to use social media and became an expert at it. From growing fandom accounts and reselling them, producing content for micro, macro, and mega influencers to working for Fortune 500 companies and delivering millions of views per week.

She graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor of Science in Media Communications and a job that allowed her to meet all her business idols. By the age of 22, Mora was Head of Global Trends at a marketing agency and spearheaded massive social media campaigns for world-renowned brands.

But last year, facing a global pandemic, Mora realized she wanted to take a different direction. So, she quit her job and started her own company to help other brands manage their marketing and create great strategies to draw attention to their products and services.

The best proof this Latina entrepreneur can give her clients is the growth of her own brand. After two months of sending out cold emails, Mora stopped as most of her clients found her through TikTok and started conversations with her. Her social media platform allowed her to grow her business into a successful one.

Aside from coaching personal brands and businesses on how to utilize vertical video content to increase brand awareness, sales, lead generation, and income, Mora works extremely hard creating content for her own accounts. She creates videos of all sorts for her TikTok account to share daily marketing and business tips.

Some of her best tips include how to make money on social media without a large number of followers, how to create a social media strategy, debunking social media marketing myths, and how businesses can create on TikTok.

Click here to read the full article on Influencive.

These Latina Businesses Are Changing How LA Shops — Online And IRL
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Latina Business Hija de tu Madre, a clothing, accessories and jewelry brand founded by Patty Delgado.

By Eva Recinos, LA ist

It’s easy to feel cynical about companies pushing identity for profit — witness major retailers stamping feminist mottos on everything from t-shirts and tote bags to baby onesies and barware — but some local brands are the genuine article. They’re not jumping on any bandwagon. They’re Latina-owned lifestyle businesses, creating and selling items to their communities. “We’re at a time where people are craving independently made wares, handmade wares and cultural goods,” says Noelle Reyes, co-founder of Highland Park boutique Mi Vida.

As online shopping decimates mega malls and forces old school retailers to rethink their strategies, independent brands are stepping up, using social media and community connections to make their mark. These businesses represent only a few of the city’s budding entrepreneurs but they’re making an impact — both online and in the real world.

Social Media Stars
Leah Guerrero has been making holistic skincare products — facial masks, face and body creams, hydrosols — since 2013. Two years ago, using knowledge and ingredients she gleaned from her trips to the mercados of Mexico City, she founded Brujita Skincare out of her home. She began selling her wares at Molcajete Dominguero, a now-monthly Latinx pop-up market in Boyle Heights. Her target audience? People looking for affordable vegan and cruelty-free products.

As the crowds grew, so did her social media following. Guerrero started sending products to friends and influencers. That “ricocheted into all of these people finding out about Brujita through Instagram,” she says.

To keep up with demand, she currently produces “thousands of units a month” at a rented studio in downtown Los Angeles. In April, Brujita launched a Green Collection in collaboration with Hotel Figueroa. Guests who order the Self-Care Package through mid-September get a one-night stay and a sleek toiletry bag containing four of the brand’s products.

With more than 19,000 followers, Brujita’s Instagram account features the requisite product photos, GIFs and behind-the-scenes peaks at new products. Guerrero engages with customers via DM and shares info on the account about the ingredients in each product. “With the engagement comes trust, and trust in my community means a whole lot to me,” she says.

Brujita has built a community that Guerrero wants to continue nurturing, particularly Latinx and LGBTQ+ groups. The brand’s current studio, in downtown Los Angeles, serves as a safe space for the LGBT community, with many “friends coming in and out and doing their creative work,” Guerrero says. Brujita is meant to be stylish, accessible and inclusive, a counterpoint to mainstream skincare brands built on Western ideals of beauty. Guerrero says a more formal physical location for Brujita Skincare is in the works.

Brick By Brick
For other Los Angeles brands, the IRL business came before the social media one. Reyes and her cousin, Danelle Hughes, opened Mi Vida in 2008, two years before Instagram debuted. The Highland Park shop sells clothes, housewares and art. It also functions as a gallery and a community hub, hosting poetry readings, yoga classes and meditation workshops.

“If you were a business that was a brick and mortar when social media came on, it’s almost like you automatically had to take on this new career,” Reyes says.

She began using photography to promote her products and it became a creative outlet. Instagram is also a way for her to scout and connect with new artists, some of whom have been featured in the store. Although Reyes has noticed more customers visiting Mi Vida after discovering it online, the connection also works the other way. For her, social media is a tool to supplement her store’s presence in a neighborhood where the founders have been working hard for years.

Conversations about gentrification in Boyle Heights are heated, and Mi Vida’s owners are aware of the controversy. “We hear all the time how great it is to have a space like ours on this street,” Reyes says. “That is something we don’t take lightly. We work very hard every day to continue to be a positive light in our community and offer products that bring a positive vibe.”

Click here to read the full article on LA ist.

‘Investing Latina’ Founder Jully-Alma Taveras Reveals the Best Investing Moves She’s Made
LinkedIn
Investing Latina Founder Jully-Alma Taveras pictures in front of a brown backgrop while wearing a black blazer

By Gabrielle Olya, Yahoo! Finance

Jully-Alma Taveras is the founder of Investing Latina, an educational online community with over 40,000 members. She is an award-winning bilingual money expert, writer, YouTuber, speaker and educator who covers topics around personal finance, investing and entrepreneurship.

Recognized by GOBankingRates as one of Money’s Most Influential, here she shares the best investing moves she’s made, why consistency is key when it comes to investing for the long-term and how to get started if you’re new to investing.

Recognized by GOBankingRates as one of Money’s Most Influential, here she shares the best investing moves she’s made, why consistency is key when it comes to investing for the long-term and how to get started if you’re new to investing.

What advice would you give your younger self about investing?
I would tell myself, “Hey, start researching all the companies you already buy from — Amazon, Apple, Nike — and consider investing into them!”

What is the best thing you did to boost your own portfolio?
I moved away from managed funds to index funds. This is helping me save so much money in fees.

When it comes to investing for the long-term, what should people focus on?
I would tell people to focus on how much they are investing and their plan to increase the amount. You can always make adjustments to your assets in your portfolio, but building it up takes time and it takes a plan of action. You have to be consistent.

What is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to investing?
Not getting started sooner. People hold off because they are intimidated or don’t understand it. But the reality is that a two-hour workshop like the one I host is all the time you need to dedicate to education to get started. I make it simple and clear so that people can start learning and earning through compounding interest.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Finance

How three Latina women let go from 9NEWS are helping change the journalism industry
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Former 9NEWS journalists (from left) Lori Lizarraga, Sonia Gutierrez and Kristen Aguirre.

By , Denver Post

When model student Sonia Gutierrez was informed by her high school counselor in 2009 that college was out of the question because the young Colorado Latina lacked documentation, Gutierrez allowed herself an afternoon to sob, mourning the future she and her parents had worked toward their whole lives.

Then she got to work.

Gutierrez testified before the Colorado legislature in support of the ASSET bill, which passed in 2013 and allows qualifying students without legal status to pay in-state tuition rates. She shared her story with local journalists and was consistently disappointed in the coverage.

“I just remember thinking, ‘Well, of course. They don’t know what it’s like,’” said Gutierrez, now 30 and with permanent U.S. residency. “I have these white guys interviewing me about what it’s like to be here undocumented… I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see. I wanted to see stories told by my community — stories more fairly and truthfully representing what is happening. That was never going to happen unless people like us are doing that job.”

Gutierrez’s persistence paid off, landing her a 2012 internship at Denver’s 9NEWS, where she worked her way up to a full-time job, eventually meeting fellow Latina coworkers Lori Lizarraga and Kristen Aguirre.

However, the driving force behind Gutierrez’s journalistic pursuits — her family’s decision to come to America from Mexico when she was a baby and her struggle to obtain legal documentation — was thrown back in her face by 9NEWS, she alleged, when management told her she could only cover immigration-related stories if she disclosed her residency status in her reporting.

An article Lizarraga wrote for Westword last month laid out a story the three Latina reporters who were all let go by 9NEWS in the past year never imagined telling: allegations of discrimination in an industry that prides itself on holding others accountable and their dogged pursuit to tell their increasingly diverse community’s stories in spite of the obstacles in their way.

At a time when re-invigorated national conversations around racial justice are infiltrating industries across the country, Lizarraga’s disclosure rallied local Latina politicians, who called for meetings with the news organization; brought to light a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing from a major shareholder of 9NEWS parent company TEGNA alleging racial bias among top brass; and spurred TEGNA-wide change to the language the company’s journalists use when reporting on immigration.

“I look at these three women as my heroes,” said Rebecca Aguilar, president-elect of the Society of Professional Journalists and chair of SPJ’s diversity and inclusion committee. “We should be very proud of Lori for coming forward because she has told us the reality of what’s going on in that station and the realities of the news business. I believe in our SPJ Code of Ethics. We are not supposed to do people harm. What these managers have done to these three women is harm.”

9NEWS management declined a phone interview with The Denver Post and would not comment on the exits of Lizarraga, Aguirre and Gutierrez — the station didn’t renew their contracts — nor their allegations of discrimination, calling them personnel matters.

In a two-page statement, 9NEWS Director of Content Tim Ryan said the newsroom is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Recent efforts include a DEI committee, listening sessions with journalists of color, training on inclusive journalism practices and an upcoming diversity audit by a third-party researcher, Ryan said.

“While we are making progress, we know we have much more work to do,” Ryan wrote. “As with many things, some changes and improvements will happen quickly, and others will occur over time. Ultimately, we are committed to working with our employees and the greater Denver community on a holistic strategy and tangible actions that effectively enhance our culture and serve and represent our community.”

Click here to read the full article on Denver Post.

THIS CHEF IS TRYING TO OPEN A VEGAN BAKERY AND LATINX SOCIAL JUSTICE CAFÉ IN SEATTLE
LinkedIn
Lara de la Rosa wearing a white sweater and smiling in front of the camera while she leans on her left hand in front of a mint green cake with pink icing and flowers.

By JOCELYN MARTINEZ, VegNews

Seattle-based vegan baker Lara de la Rosa recently launched a campaign on crowdfunding site GoFundMe to open Casa del Xoloitzcuintle (Case del Xolo), a vegan bakery and Latinx social justice café. Founder of Seattle’s vegan bakery Lazy Cow Bakery, de la Rosa’s mission to make veganism easy and affordable for the masses while advocating for social justice is the driving force behind Casa del Xolo.

While the café menu will feature Lazy Cow Bakery’s cakes along with new sweet treats such as macaroons and croissants, de la Rosa is most excited about the new savory items currently in development. “We are currently testing quiche recipes,” de la Rosa told VegNews. “There’s just something about cheesy, herby roasted vegetables in a fluffy egg filling. I promise our quiche will be just as satisfying but with none of the animal exploitation.”

A café for the cultura
With a $30,000 fundraising goal, de la Rosa has plans for Casa del Xolo to be more than just a vegan bakery and café. Eyes set on a space in the city’s University District, Casa del Xolo will double as a Latinx cultural center complete with a stage for events, food pantry, community fridge, and Spanish classes.

“We see veganism as just another branch in the tree of social justice reform,” de la Rosa said. “Our food pantry will be 100 percent vegan. There’s no need for us to exploit one segment of our population to help another segment when we can simply help both by offering a plant-based pantry.” Taking food pantries a step further, de la Rosa hopes to offer free, ready-to-eat meals for people experiencing homelessness, a reality de la Rosa has experienced herself. “I want people to get used to the idea that food should be free,” she said. “While food pantries are known to have pantry staples, I’m going to try and eventually [stock] ready-made food items. Pantry staples are great for those who have access to kitchens but many houseless people do not.”

Along with Latinx-focused programming, veganism will also be a common thread present throughout the center’s work. De la Rosa plans to host free lectures, debates, and documentary screenings at Casa del Xolo to help educate patrons about veganism.

Latinx in Seattle
According to the US Census Bureau, seven percent of Seattle’s population identified as Latinx in 2019. For Mexican-born de la Rosa, it is evident the city’s resources are not being allocated for Latinx cultural events and centers. “From Swedish Cultural Centers to Finnish museums, [Seattle] has these grandiose, multi-million dollar buildings in prime real estate locales for countries a million miles away that have an extremely small percentage of people living here,” de la Rosa said. “If only [the city] had the same vigor for the Brown-majority country [the US] shares a border with.”

Click here to read the full article on Veg News.

Supporting an inclusive economy: small businesses, Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, and their intersection
LinkedIn
woman's hand pictured holding pen and calculator

For many of us, connections to small businesses are deeply personal—your local barber shop or family dentist, the spot for the best pizza in town, the small contractor you call to fix your leak.

Businesses like these make up the fabric of our communities—but many don’t realize what a big role they play, collectively, in the U.S. economy.

However, they face unique challenges even in the strongest of times and now, amidst the covid-19 pandemic, many small businesses are struggling to survive.

The situation at hand

JPMorgan Chase Institute research found that prior to the covid-19 pandemic, typical small businesses had only enough cash on hand to keep the lights on for two to three weeks. This was even more pronounced for small businesses in majority-Black and Latinx communities, where the typical business had only one to two weeks of reserves.

Interestingly, researchers found that in the Fall of 2020, many small businesses actually had cash reserves at higher levels than normal. This seems like great news—but when you look under the hood, the situation is more precarious. [3]

There are two factors to explain the elevated reserves: 1) an injection of cash from federal and local policy shored up many of the businesses likely to face a shortfall, and 2) a decision many businesses made to delay or dial back payments on things like upkeep of key assets, limiting wages or employee benefits, or other choices that may not be financially healthy in the months or years ahead.[4]

So, while cash balances are larger than usual, they may not be enough for small businesses to continue to survive in these tumultuous times. Expenses have already begun to outpace revenue. This trend could have a disproportionate impact on Black- and Latinx-owned companies, that tend to experience lower revenues and profit margins compared to white-owned counterparts.[5]

Help in many forms

Many small businesses face similar challenges: lack of access to capital and resources to grow. However, businesses owned by people of color and other underserved groups face these challenges more acutely. For example, according to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, Black, Latinx and women-owned small businesses are underrepresented among firms with substantial external financing. While there are no simple solutions, business, government and nonprofit leaders should work together to support, sustain and grow these critical enterprises.

For example, December’s $900 billion stimulus package included a second infusion of PPP funds, with $12 billion set aside for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).

While the terms might be unfamiliar, you likely already know your local CDFI or MDI. Some local banks or credit unions might fall into this category.

An MDI is a bank whose ownership or leadership is made up of a majority of people of color. CDFIs are community lenders, which primarily finance in low- and moderate-income communities and focus on small businesses, as well as affordable housing and nonprofits. Both MDIs and CDFIs earn these designations from the federal government, due to the vital financial services they provide in communities that are often underserved. CDFIs in particular are designed to meet these needs by offering capital and guidance to help ensure the success of vulnerable businesses. We think that’s a winning combination.

But MDIs and CDFIs need banks to provide additional capital to fund this critical work in communities. Here’s where JPMorgan Chase comes in.

Part of the solution

We believe that business has a role to play in addressing societal issues, along with business and community leaders. JPMorgan Chase is committed to building a more inclusive economy and our support for small business, especially in Black and Latinx communities, is a critical element of this work.

That’s why, in February, the firm announced new initiatives focused on providing MDIs and diverse-led CDFIs with additional access to capital, connections to institutional investors, specialty support for Black-led commercial projects, and mentorship and training opportunities. Initial investments and commitments to minority-owned and Black-led MDIs included Liberty Bank and Trust, M&F Bank, Carver Federal Savings Bank and Broadway Federal Bank. The firm also committed $42.5 million to expand the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund to reach new U.S. cities in 2021, providing loans and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses in collaboration with LISC and a network of CDFIs. Since its inception in Detroit in 2015, the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund has deployed more than $32 million to Black, Latinx and other underserved entrepreneurs, including Jimmie Williams from Chicago, who received a small business loan to scale his landscaping company. In addition, we continue our direct support for small business, including through PPP.

This work is part of the $30 billion commitment over five years we announced in October 2020 to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities to help close the racial wealth divide. The firm is continuing to put this commitment into practice by combining our business, policy, data and philanthropic expertise.

We are committing $350 million over five years to help grow Black, Latinx, woman-owned and other underserved small businesses. This includes:

Philanthropy, low-cost loans and direct equity investments: Supporting the signature Ascend Program, helping build the capacity of diverse-led nonprofits across the globe to more effectively support entrepreneurs, and investing in early-stage businesses to help companies drive economic opportunity, including in Black and Latinx communities. Last month we made our initial direct equity investment in Bitwise Industries.
Policy: Releasing new data-driven policy solutions such as increasing resources for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloan program, which provides loans of up to $50,000 to help small businesses. The firm will support advancing these policy reforms to help address the immediate and long-term challenges small business owners face.
Supplier diversity: Spending an additional $750 million with Black and Latinx suppliers, and co-investing up to $200 million in middle market businesses that are or will be minority owned via a new initiative with Ariel Alternatives.
Wrap-around support: Launching a nationwide Minority Entrepreneurs program to help entrepreneurs in historically underserved areas access 1:1 coaching, technical assistance and capital.

Together, these commitments will help reduce barriers to capital access and support the growth of thousands of additional underserved businesses.

Read the full article on the Washington Post.

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