Community Partner Profile: How Avanzando Juntos is Creating New Opportunities for Latino Small Businesses
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Soon-to-be Tulsa’s second Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and the only CDFI solely focused on advancing Latino excellence and economic mobility in our region, Avanzando Juntos is working diligently to build a more inclusive economy in Tulsa. We connected with Avanzando Juntos’s Executive Director, Onelia Macchia Anzola, to learn more about how the organization has been able to help dozens of Latino businesses register in the state, create a successful mentoring program, and develop custom small business loan guidelines to secure a 100% loan repayment rate.
What are some different ways Avanzando Juntos provides economic growth opportunities to Latino businesses in Tulsa?
At Avanzando Juntos, we provide access to capital, technical assistance, mentoring, and networking opportunities for Latino businesses and entrepreneurs.
- Access to capital: Our loan programs are designed to serve our local Latino Community providing $5,000 to $20,000 to Latino Small Businesses to start or expand their business with a lower interest rate than financial institutions.
- Technical Assistance: We provide education through our monthly workshops in Spanish to help entrepreneurs develop their skills in different areas, including registration, business financials, lending, marketing, and more.
- Mentoring: We offer one-on-one mentoring to all of our clients and workshop participants, offering individualized guidance to all of our small businesses.
- Networking: We create opportunities for small businesses to connect, share experiences, and learn from other businesses at different events.
For the past 2 years, Avanzando Juntos has deployed 76 small business loans and 44 microloans to Tulsa area small businesses. What have you learned about Tulsa small businesses through these efforts?
As a result of COVID-19 support and the pilot program of 11 microloans, we learned that Latino small businesses need more than access to capital, and the one-on-one mentoring sessions are crucial to their success. We also learned that we must guide them through registering their business and opening a business bank account. We proudly helped register in the State of Oklahoma more than 44 businesses through the Mi Gente Loan Fund. We are taking the right steps with custom guidelines to meet their needs. We know it works! We are currently at a 100% repayment rate. We work with each entrepreneur to provide any resources or guidance they need during their loan term.
What is your favorite current small business success story?
We have so many that it is hard to choose, but there is a story in particular that I always love to share. Elsa Ramirez and her sister had a bakery business operated from home. Elsa was only baking for friends and family when she came to us. She started to come to the classes and received funding through the Mi Gente Loan Fund. We saw the full evolution of her business from registering her business, selecting the name, ordering business cards, and even creating a full logo with social media marketing. Today, Elsa’s business has expanded to more than her referrals. She offers full catering services and popped up several times at Mother Road Market with Dulce Cake. She benefits from the one-on-one mentoring sessions and was able to identify her signature dessert, “Mexican Tiramisu,” which is now in high demand. What is next for her? Maybe a store? Or her famous dessert to be available in Supermarkets!
In the U.S., nearly one-in-four new businesses are Hispanic-owned. What does this type of growth mean for Avanzando Juntos and Tulsa?
The significant presence of Hispanic small businesses allows us to foster economic growth, enhance community relationships, and promote financial inclusivity for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Hispanic small businesses play a crucial role in our local economies, contributing to economic growth, job creation, and increased tax revenues, and we can support and drive this growth.
How can aspiring entrepreneurs/business owners access services through Avanzando Juntos?
We want all the businesses to thrive and we are available to assist, whether they are starting a business or already have an existing one. Entrepreneurs and businesses can reach out to us by visiting https://ajtulsa.org/contact-us. Alternatively, they can email email@example.com.