Jennifer Lopez recently returned to her home county, The Bronx, in New York City, meeting with 20 Latina entrepreneurs. In a heartfelt session, she remarked, “If you want to be successful, if you want to be extraordinary, all you have to do is not give up.”
It’s been a year since the famed actress, singer, and entrepreneur allied with Grameen America, a charity dedicated to bolstering Latina businesses through credit capital. Founded by Muhammad Yunus, the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Grameen America’s ambitious objective is to channel $14 billion in credit capital to support 600,000 underserved Latina business owners nationwide by 2030.
Lopez candidly expressed the challenges these entrepreneurs face: “It’s life-changing not to be able to finance your business or to have an idea or a dream that you can’t develop because you just lack capital and you go to a bank, and they won’t give it to you because you’re Latina.”
Real Dreams Realized: The Story of Lissette Mims
Among those who benefited from this initiative is Lissette Mims. At 54, Mims turned her aspiration of becoming a beautician into reality, owning the Bella Shique spa where Lopez’s event occurred. “I’ve worked all my life and still have a passion. No matter how old I am, my dream is worth it,” Mims joyfully proclaimed.
The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative’s State of Latino Entrepreneurship 2022 Report underscores the significance of such programs. According to the report, Latino-owned businesses are consistently less likely to secure loans from major banks than their white-owned counterparts.
- Oneida’s West Elm Street house in Madison County reduced to rubble after stolen SUV triggers gas leak and explosion
- Taco Bell manager and father of five is fatally shot outside a Bronx school Sedgwick Ave. and W. Burnside Ave.
- Joe Romano of PANYNJ saves two lives on George Washington Bridge in just three hours
Yet, with Lopez’s backing, Grameen America is on track to disburse an unprecedented $1 billion loan to Latina entrepreneurs this year alone. Beyond mere financing, recipients also gain access to training and education, equipping them to manage their burgeoning enterprises adeptly.
Personal Connections and Broader Impact
Lopez’s engagement isn’t merely philanthropic; it’s deeply personal. She shared stories of her family, saying, “I know my grandmother, a talented seamstress, would have loved to have her store. My mother, in her unique way as a Tupperware lady, ran her own business. If only she had the resources or the chance to dream bigger.”
The event wasn’t just about Mims. Many attendees shared their stories, including a flower shop owner and a tire store proprietor. They conversed with Lopez about the trajectory of their businesses post-loan and how her initiative had transformed their entrepreneurial journey.
Through initiatives like this, Lopez and Grameen America are changing individual lives and reshaping the narrative for Latina entrepreneurs nationwide.