Prospera announces new Aspen Institute initiative to support hard-hit Hispanic businesses in Miami
MIAMI, Aug. 31, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Program (AILAS) and Prospera are proud to announce Miami’s participation in the City Learning and Action Lab, a new 12-month program presented by AILAS in partnership with the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University and Christopher Gergen, CEO of impact investment firm Forward Impact and the Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow.
âThis is the first such program focused on predominantly Latin American cities and communities to strengthen local entrepreneurial ecosystems,â said Domenika Lynch, executive director of the Aspen Institute Latinos & Society program. âThere is tremendous innovation in Latin American communities as they strive to rebuild themselves after Covid-19, but access to capital, capacity building and collaboration are needed to increase the impact. The City Learning and Action Lab strengthens and strengthens the efforts of local leaders to attract investment capital and resources to the Latin American communities where they live and operate. What’s so exciting is that local donors are embracing our vision of organizing Latin-centric communities to learn, innovate together, and connect with national networks to catalyze change in their local communities. “
Miami is part of a cohort of cities and communities that also includes Long Beach and San Bernardino in California, southwest Chicago in Illinois, and El Paso and San Antonio in Texas. The initiative is funded by public, corporate and individual philanthropic support, including: Angel Morales and Morales Capital; The Chevalier Foundation; the city of San Bernardino; Vanir Construction Management Inc .; Dr J. Mario Molina; Secretary Henry Cisneros; the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation; and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other donors.
âMiami is a powerful market and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, the arts and international trade. But 81% of our companies have fewer than 10 employees, among the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to play a part in this national conversation and to be selected for this new Aspen Institute initiative, âsaid Myrna Sonora, Senior Host of the Miami Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Steering Committee and Regional Vice President of Miami. Prospera. “AILAS is investing national resources and leadership in our region’s post-pandemic recovery to support underserved businesses while enabling our local leaders and economic development experts to identify and drive solutions.”
As part of the Latino Business and Entrepreneurship Initiative, the City Learning and Action Lab kicked off in July 2021 with participating communities to boost economic growth in regions where COVID-19 has exacerbated long-standing inequalities. The initiative is a star-shaped model designed to help anchor organizations in each city form a entrepreneurial ecosystem steering committee made up of key cross-sector leaders. Committee members will come together around strategic priorities and implement solutions to stimulate and support the local Hispanic business economy.
The following Steering Committee members have signed up and joined the pilot program on behalf of Miami:
- Beacon Council President / CEO Michael Finney;
- William Porro, Director of Social Services and Economic Initiatives for the City of Miami;
- Economic developer of the city of Doral Manuel Pila;
- North Bay Village City Manager Ralph Rosado;
- Metropolitan Center Jorge M. Perez of the Deputy Director of the FIU Maria Ilcheva;
- Raul Moas, Knight Foundation Program Director;
- Morales Capital CEO Angel Morales;
- SBDC to CRF Director Brian Van Hook;
- Mileyka Burgos, executive director of the CDC Allapattah cooperative;
- Anchor Alliance representative Lisa Martinez;
- De’Sean Weber, director of a worker-owned company at Catalyst Miami;
- Sofia Cuenca, senior director of the Healthy Little Havana program;
- Rick Gonzalez, President of T&G Constructors;
- the owner of ShadeFLA, Margueritte Ramos;
- the co-owners of NEO Broadband, Edmerson Vasquez and Gloria Martinez;
- Michelle Fajardo, owner of Cargo International Consolidators;
- Fabiana Estrada, director of Ascendus Florida; and
- Prospera South Florida Vice President Myrna Sonora
Through the City Learning and Action Lab, the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University will work closely with the Latinos and Society team at the Aspen Institute to help local regions take stock of the number, size and sector orientation of Latino-owned businesses. Together, they will identify opportunities and weaknesses to crack the code of business growth in Hispanic communities in a post-Covid economy.
Before the pandemic, Hispanic entrepreneurs represented the highest rate of new business start-ups in the United States, growing 34% over the past decade, according to a study by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative also reported that 86% of Hispanic-owned businesses suffered immediate negative effects from Covid-19 in the first months of the shutdown. According to the Brookings Institute, 80% of Hispanic small and medium businesses have not received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, which has been crucial for businesses across the country.
For more information, please visit www.aspeninstitute.org/latinos-society, or follow on Twitter and Facebook @AspenLatinos.
For more information on Prospera, visit www.prosperausa.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn @ProsperaUSA.
The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program (AILAS), founded in 2015, provides a non-partisan and impartial platform for shared learning among influencer communities on critical barriers preventing greater Latin American success, and jointly delivers new, innovative and actionable solutions for a more prosperous future for all Americans. . For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org/latinos-society.
The Aspen Institute is a global, non-profit organization committed to achieving a free, just and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute fosters change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most significant challenges facing the United States and the world. Based in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.
Prospera is a non-profit economic development organization that, since 1991, has specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs who wish to start, maintain and grow their businesses. In the past five years alone, Prospera has granted more than $ 60 million in loans, trained more than 20,000 entrepreneurs and helped consulting clients create or retain more than 16,000 jobs. It has offices in the central, southern and west coast areas of Florida, as well as in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, visit www.prosperausa.org.
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