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Hispanic women are much more likely than non-Hispanic women to live in poverty. Many times they lack the education, experience and skills – even the self-confidence – to pursue gainful and stable employment.

The ¡Avanzando Juntas! Latina Economic Empowerment Program is an innovative program that offers Latinas the opportunity to capitalize on their interests, skills and talents in their journey of personal and professional growth. We encourage, support and inspire participants to start their own micro-enterprises as they acquire the knowledge and tools needed to succeed. The program was launched in 2014 with funds from The Coca-Cola Foundation and is tailored to meet the needs of Latina immigrants.

Essentially, we are creating a space where Latinas can get the knowledge, support and entrepreneurial skills necessary to become economically stable. Our program has a strong cultural and linguistic foundation and is tailored specifically for Latinas.

A critical component of the program is the Latina Empowerment Conference. The 3rd Annual Latina Empowerment Conference will take place on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Infinite Energy Center in Gwinnett.

For conference details and registration information, click here.


¡Avanzando Juntas!

The Latina immigrant woman has the immense potential of improving her economic situation, as well as that of her family and become a change agent in the community to which she belongs. The LAA’s Latina Empowerment program ¡Avanzando Juntas! inspires Latinas helping them promote their personal and economic growth by giving them the resources and education to become entrepreneurs.

The program offers a space where Latina women can develop their interests, skills and talents to capitalize on their trades and professions. We encourage and support the participants to form their very own micro-enterprise.

The program includes three areas of focus: Women and Education, Women and Employment and Women and Business.


Women & Education

This area focuses on talks related to credit and budget, motivational and personal growth and public speaking (Toastmasters). It also offers English and computer courses.

English Classes: English is fundamental when it comes to searching for a job and advancing your education. We offer various levels of English classes year-round at a reasonable cost. Learn the language with instructors who have years of experience teaching English to adult speakers of other languages.

Registration Dates for English Classes:  Mondays and Thursdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

For more info on English classes, click here.

Computer Skills: Learning computer skills has many benefits, including improving your chances of finding a job, growing in your career and becoming more efficient and productive in the workplace. We offer computer classes in Spanish, and courses include Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Internet and E-mail training at a reasonable cost.

For more info on computer classes, click here.

Women & Employment

This area focuses on employment orientation, job banks and job fairs. Every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and every Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 in the Employment Room, second floor. Registration is not required.

Employers visit the LAA periodically to meet and interview job seekers. Visit our job bank to find employment opportunities and upload your résumé so employers can find you.

Women & Business (8 week course)

This area focuses offers a FREE program to help Latina entrepreneurs plan their business. There are two mandatory classes prior to initiating the 8 week course. The program is offered on the following dates:

  • Spring Session | every week, Wednesday and Saturday, starting on January 31st or February 3rd.
  • Summer Session | every week, Wednesday and Saturday, starting on April 4th and 7th.
  • Fall Session | every week, Wednesday and Saturday, starting on August 1st and 4th.
  • Winter Session | every week, Wednesday and Saturday, starting on October 3rd and 6th.

Mandatory classes:

Class #1: Are You Ready to Start Your Own Business?

  • Dates | January 3rd, February 13th, March 15th, April 19th and May 10th
  • Time |10 a.m. a 12 p.m. 
  • Click here to register.

Class #2: Credit & Budget

  • Dates | January 3rd, February 13th, March 13th, April 10th and May 8th
  • Time |10 a.m. a 12 p.m. 
  • Click here to register.

Excel for entrepreneurs

  • Dates | January 3rd, February 13th, March 13th, April 10th and May 8th
  • Time |10 a.m. a 12 p.m. 
  • Click here to register.

To view the brochure of the program (Spanish only), click here.


Microloans

The LAA offers low-interest microloans ranging from $500 to $5,000 for your business. During the orientation, you will learn what are the existing requirements and the steps you’ll need to take to have access to microloans.

Click here for details on micro loans and here for orientation schedule and registration.


 ¡Avanzando Juntas! Success Stories

Latina Empowerment program

Since the program was launched in 2014, hundreds of women have taken our courses tailored to Latina entrepreneurs. Many are already on their way to making their dreams a reality.

The LAA’s entrepreneurship course for Latinas continues to draw strong interest from Atlanta-area immigrants who dream of starting their own business. Since the Latinas’ Economic Empowerment Program ¡Avanzando Juntas! was launched with a $300,000 seed grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, some 500 women have taken the course.

The popular course, “Mujeres y negocios,” lasts eight weeks and is offered four times a year. The class, which is free and taught in Spanish, teaches Latina immigrants all they need to know to start their own business. At the end of the course, participants must present a business plan in order to get a completion certificate.

“Our participants are Latinas who immigrated to this country as adults,” says Mónica Cucalón, manager of the Latinas’ Economic Empowerment Program. “They face many challenges, including a language barrier, immigration status and the cultural shock of moving to a new country where they don’t know anyone and have to start from scratch.”

Cucalón, who worked as a marketing professional in Colombia for companies such as Unilever, says that the trauma of immigrating sets women back financially. “They want to get ahead and realize themselves as women and as professionals. And our course helps them do just that.”

The course, taught by immigrants who’ve had similar struggles, teaches students everything about starting a business, from raising capital and generating sales to marketing and preparing financial statements. This prepares them to work on their business plan. Many come to the class with the desire to turn their hobby into a business.

“It’s more than a course that teaches them business basics. It’s a space where they feel a sense of belonging, where they connect with other women who’ve had similar experiences,” Cucalón says.

Marisol Meléndez sells soaps she makes in her kitchen.

Many immigrants who have taken the course are already on their way to making their entrepreneurial dreams a reality. They are embroidering, making soaps at home, selling jewelry made by Amazonian artisans, running flower shops, crafting traditional South American cookies known as alfajores and much more.

Read their stories here


Learn more about the LAA’s Latina Economic Empowerment Program

This powerful video, filmed and produced by AIBtv, features our program and captures why the program for Latina entrepreneurs is about much more than teaching job skills or updating a resume.

Also, click here to watch video featuring participants who have successfully completed the “Planning Your Business” course and are on their way to making their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.