Architect-turned-textile designer Maria Zaa credits the LAA with helping get her business, Al’Blue Textiles, off the ground.

She took the “Mujeres y Negocios” course for Latina entrepreneurs in the spring of 2015. The 20-hour primer gave her a good grasp on operations, accounting, marketing and finance.


“The class gave me the push I needed to get my business going,” Zaa says. “It not only made me see how important it is to have a dream, but also gave me the know-how and tools I needed to structure my business.”

The course, she adds, created a sense of community among the participants and made her feel like she was not alone in her pursuits.

“I would get discouraged when I tried to talk to people who did not understand what I was going through,” she says. “The women I met in the class were going through experiences similar to mine, and that was refreshing.”

After she completed the course, Zaa took pictures of her designs and products and launched a website, had her designs printed on fabric and prepared a sample book.
Last month, Zaa became the first participant of the course to receive a microloan. She is using the $3,000 loan to buy fabric and attend an original art and design trade show in New York City where she can sell her designs to big clients.

“I am grateful to the LAA for believing in my talent and making my dream come true,”

Zaa says.

To see Zaa’s designs, visit