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.

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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 income; thus the Latina immigrant has the immense potential of improving her economic situation, as well as that of her family and become agent of change.

Created in 2014 with the support of “The Coca-Cola Foundation”, The Latina Economic Empowerment Program, ¡Avanzando Juntas! is an innovative holistic program that offers Latinas the opportunity to capitalize on their interests, skills and talents in their journey of personal and professional growth. The program inspires, empowers and educates Latinas by giving them the resources and education they need to become economically self-sufficient.

The program includes three areas of focus: Women and Education, Women and Employment and Women and Business. A key component of the program is the annual Latina Empowerment Conference.

Staff:

Latina Economic Empowerment Manager: Mónica Cucalón | 404-477-2571 | mcucalon@thelaa.org 

Microloans Coordinator: Rosa Ray | 404-248-2208 | laamicroloans@thelaa.org     

Economic Empowerment Director: Sandra Achury | 404-982-6896 | sachury@thelaa.org

Educated women have demonstrated a better ability to keep control of her expenditures and to maintain their own economic independence, to improve household management and be able to save money and contribute more to the family income pool.

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

Credit and Budget:

Be informed about the credit system, benefits and risks of incurring in debt and how to build a good credit in the US. Learn how to create your personal budget and how to manage your household expenses. This class is mandatory before you can take the Business Planning course. This class is offered on a monthly base in different schedules. Click here to register and to attend this talk in Spanish.

Toastmasters

This international famous club will help you to improve your communication skills, public speaking and leadership. Every Thursday at the LAA from 6:30-8:00 pm – Registration is not required.

English Classes

Learning English is critical for your personal and professional growth. Learn the language allow you to understand the American culture, expand your networking, find a job and advance your education.

We offer various levels of English classes year-round at a reasonable cost. The classes are being taught by instructors who have years of experience teaching English as a second language.

Registration dates for English classes: Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30am to 4:00pm.

For more information on English classes click here.

Computer Classes:

Learning computer skills offer you 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, internet and email training at a reasonable cost.

For more information on computer classes click here.

Cerfitications:

Latina immigrants face a great challenge of finding a source of income when they arrive in US. Getting a certification on jobs or occupations on demand offers you a new opportunity to generate a temporary income or perhaps paving the way to a new career path.

Click here to access guidelines to get certified as:

  • Substitute Teacher
  • Cosmetology
  • Real Estate Broker & Sales person
  • Nail Technician
  • Teacher
  • Accountant

We understand the difficulties of navigating the job market in a new country. In this this area we will assist you free of charge in the process of getting your foot in the door. The employment department offers an array of services that includes a weekly Employment Orientation in Spanish, one-on-one assistance through Goodwill, job fairs and our Online Job Bank.

For a detailed information on employment assistance click here.

Entrepreneurship is a key driver of prosperity and competitiveness in the US and Latinas are a booming entrepreneurial force. According to the Census Bureau data, there were 1.5 million Latina-owned businesses in the US with $78.8 billion in sales. Georgia experienced the most rapid growth of Latina-owned business in the US during 2017.

“Planifica tu negocio” is a free course that is offered  in Spanish to Latina immigrants that want to undertake their own business or who are already in business & want to move to the next level. The course last eight weeks and is based on a recognized curriculum in the market. You will learn about planning, marketing, finance, operations and legal issues. Upon finishing the course, you will have in your hands your Business Plan, the document that will help you to navigate the system and to start/grow your own business.

“Planifica tu Negocio” is offered four times a year in the following cycle dates:

Winter:  January

Spring:  March

Summer: August

Fall:  October

The schedule for the course is:

Once a week

Wednesday mornings 10am-12:30pm or

Wednesday evenings 6:00pm-8:30pm or

Saturday mornings 10am -12:30pm

Steps to register for Planifica tu Negocio:

Before taking the eight-week-course, you must attend two mandatory classes. Only after you finish taking these classes you will be eligible to start the “Planifica tu Negocio” course. Our staff will be informing you when the next “Planifica tu negocio” course will take place.

You can register clicking the links below for each class.

Credit and Budget:

Become a successful entrepreneur requires financial effort and discipline. For you to succeed in your entrepreneurial path you must need to learn how to build a good credit and to manage efficiently your household income and expenditures.

Click here for registration and information on dates and times.

Are you ready to start your business?

One out of ten startups fail because they are not well informed about what to expect during the process of starting a business. During these two hours you will learn about the main requirements and considerations of becoming an entrepreneur.

Click here for registration and information on dates and times.

For most startups, the main critical barrier to scale up is the inability to find affordable sources for funding their businesses. Here at the LAA -¡Avanzando Juntas! we offer low-interest microloans ranging from $500 to $5000 for your business.

The application will be considered on the basis of the business’s unique financial needs.

  • Minimum credit score of 550
  • Interest rate as low as 5% annually
  • Terms are typically between 1 to 3 years
  • Loan proceeds can be used for business or franchise acquisition, new or used equipment, inventory, licenses and expenses as related to the business.
  • Documentation is required.

Microloan Orientation: We offer this orientation twice a month in the mornings to inform you what the requirements are and the steps you will need to have access to the microloan.   If you can’t be able to attend the orientation, feel free to contact Rosa Rey microloans@thelaa.org  to schedule an appointment.

Click here to see the orientation schedule and to register: http://bit.ly/2jFpMaU

Microloans Staff:

Microloans Coordinator: Rosa Rey | 404-248-2208 | microloans@thelaa.org 

Latina Economic Empowerment Manager: Monica Cucalon | 404-477-2571 | mcucalon@thelaa.org

Latina Empowerment program

¡Avanzando Juntas!

MEET OUR LATINA ENTREPRENEURS

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.

“Our participants are Latinas who immigrated to US 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 many people and have to start, from scratch, their lives as entrepreneurs or professionals.

“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“ Cucalon says.

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 knows as alfajores and much more.

Read their stories:

   

Marisol

 

Marisol, a native of Puerto Rico, makes bar soap from scratch.

 

In the fall 2015, she enrolled in the “Planifica tu Negocio” entrepreneurship course at the LAA and learned things she didn’t know about: market segmentation, a business budget, business plan and marketing with social media. The course, Marisol says, taught her step-by-step what to do and that allowed her to prioritize her expenses.

 

“I changed my concept from beautiful soaps to salutary soaps,” says Marisol, who holds a 40-hour-a-week job to pay her bills.

 

Marisol’s dream is to open a brick-and-mortar store together with her 20-year-old daughter. Together, the mother-daughter duo envisions a wellness venture where clients can get massages and spa-like treatments with their all-natural, homemade goods.

 

“Creating things with my hands makes me happy,” Marisol says. “I’m totally loving making soaps.”

Facebook: @humectasoaps
Instagram: @humecta_soaps

Reina

 

Reina Fierro’s flower shop has gone through many ups and downs since she acquired it in 2008. During a period of slow sales about a year ago, Reina, who had studied business administration in her native Venezuela, considered closing the shop.

 

But then a friend told her about the LAA’s “Planifica tu Negocio” course for Latina entrepreneurs. Reina enrolled. The class changed everything for her.

 

She became aware of resources at her disposal, including chambers of commerce, credit counseling agencies and other organizations that help small businesses. She switched to the QuickBooks software to keep track of her sales, inventory and expenses. She got better at managing her time better so she could focus more on social media and email marketing. But, most importantly, Reina concedes, the course made her feel better about herself, giving her the motivation to keep her shop open.

 

“It’s time for me to do things differently,” she says. “I am not afraid to fail anymore.”

Check out Reina Fierro’s flower shop at www.flowergardenatl.com

 

Diana

 

When she was studying microbiology in her native Colombia, Diana Loaiza dreamed of working in an environmental lab, protecting the oceans and caring for her natural surroundings.

Diana took the LAA’s “Planifica tu Negocio” entrepreneurship course for Latina immigrants and she never looked back. Today she has an online business where she sells hand-crafted jewelry and accessories inspired by indigenous people in Colombia who live in the Putumayo region of the Amazon rainforest and other rural areas.

“My target is women who like jewelry that is exclusive and exotic,” says Diana, who is a former model. “They want accessories that nobody else has.”

One of the most valuable lessons from the “Planifica tu Negocio” course was how to calculate the value of each of the products she sells. She also learned how to compile and list her inventory. And she defined her target market. Diana spent hours on the Internet doing research to set up her business. She started selling on Etsy and she created her own website.

Check out Diana Loaiza’s accessories at www.amazonianspirit.com
Facebook: @AmazonianSpirit
Instagram: @amazonianspirit

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VIDEO  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 helps, support and assist you on your dream to become entrepreneur. To watch the video click here:  http:/youtu.b/G3_BHRIm8-4

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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.