Fuerza Local helps strengthen dozens of Latino businesses in Phoenix

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Concepción Jiménez cleans the valley houses for a living. This is a profession she has completed since living in Phoenix for 20 years. Her decades of experience in the cleaning industry have allowed her to acquire customers.

But it’s not until 2022 that she’s officially established her own cleaning business. According to Jimenez, 47, she was able to do just that thanks to her accelerator program for her local Latino business, which her first local Arizona provides, Huerza.

She was one of 45 Valley entrepreneurs celebrated Wednesday night at the Versailles Event Center in Maryvale. Jiménez graduated from her six-month incubator program, along with her other business owners in Maryvale, South Phoenix, and Mesa.

The Fuerza Local Accelerator provides free training and resources for Latino small business owners across Arizona and is taught in Spanish. This is in line with the mission of Local First Arizona, a nonprofit organization that aims to boost local economies by supporting local entrepreneurs.

Mónica García, Senior Manager, Small Business Development, Local First Arizona, said: “We have entrepreneurs from all walks of life: food, decor, construction, bakeries, and of course all kinds of industries are graduating from our courses. Imagine your contribution to Arizona.” ”

During the program, participants learn the basics of running a business, slowly develop advanced skills to grow their business, and lay a solid foundation to achieve their short- and long-term goals. All classes are taught by experts and subject matter experts.

800+ Alumni

Since 2013, Local First Arizona has graduated over 800 Latino entrepreneurs throughout Arizona through the Fuerza Local program. In 2020, we launched a similar incubator focused on empowering Black business owners called We Rise, and have since graduated over 40 leaders.

The goal is to empower entrepreneurs of color to build an inclusive and sustainable economy in Arizona. The program connects Latino and Black businesses her owners with mentors, clients, communities, and sources of funding to end years of racial wealth disparity and unfair banking and lending practices. is intended for

Local First Arizona CEO Kimber Lanning said: “(This program) is helping shape the future of Arizona, both in our rural and urban areas alike. My heartfelt congratulations to all of the owners of these wonderful businesses.”

The second annual Fuerza Local Commencement will be held in Sedona, celebrating Latino entrepreneurs from Sedona and Cottonwood on Friday at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.

According to the latest US Census report, Arizona has 7,359,197 residents, 32.3% of whom identify as Hispanic or Latino.

In 2018, Arizona had over 610,000 businesses, of which over 112,000 were Latino-owned. These companies employ more than 101,000 of her people, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

get the tools to help them grow

Jimenez was undecided about signing up for the program when the opportunity was presented to her. she asked herself. She said, “‘Why should I take a class to clean my house? What can I learn?'”

Phoenix-based Conce’s Cleaning LLC was born in that accelerator program.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the instructor I received. I am very grateful to him for being so patient with me. It really helped me with things,” Jimenez said.

Luis Antonio Fuentes Olmos is the owner of Tacos Monkey near 22nd Street and Campbell Avenue in Phoenix. Through his tacos, he shares a fusion of Mexican family recipes: Guerrero, Baja his California, and Sonora cuisine.

With dreams of taking his small business to the next level, he decided to enroll in the Fuerza Local program.

“I sell original things, things that we make ourselves. Here they say that we can work together and achieve great things if we set our minds to it.” It showed me that there is a Latino community that can do that,” said Fuentes.

Another alumnus, Luz Murillo, has lived in Peoria for over 20 years after moving to Arizona from San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico. She sells her homemade sweets and has also started catering her parties through her business her DessertsLu.

“Concern about continuing to grow was what motivated me to sign up,” she said. “I had projects and proposals and I needed permits and licenses, so I limited myself.” Murillo, 37, said the program’s instructors helped her understand everything. rice field.

In 2023, she will celebrate two years of owning and growing her Peoria-based business.

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