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Latino business support network launches with nonprofit collaboration

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A network of Latino lead nonprofits are collaborating to support Latino business owners. A population, heavily impacted by the pandemic. Representatives hope the network helps streamline services.

The Latino Business Support Network just officially launched. The initial phase has already supported roughly 200 businesses. Latinos made up a large portion of service industry workers who lost their jobs, with many finding a solution by turning to self-employment.

The pandemic brought a lot of loss for service industry workers, but the loss created space for growth for Latino entrepreneurs.

“There’s also a language barrier for many Latinos that are not able to access high-paying jobs because they don’t speak English. On the other hand, they can make a good living if they start their own business,” said Claudia Mendez-Perkins, program officer with Local Initiative Support Corporation.

The backbone helping support the newly launched Latino Business Support Network, –making it happen with funding from the Lumina Foundation. It’s a collaboration between multiple Latino-centered nonprofits.

“There is a boom in the creation of Latino businesses. Small businesses. And at the same time, we saw an emergence of business organizations or business support organizations that were created programs to support these Latinos,” Perkins said.

Eager to help the growing entrepreneurial population in areas like construction, service, and janitorial, many agencies stepped up to support them. But with so many options, navigating it all created some challenges.

“A lot were duplicating efforts, and it was important to optimize the resources that we have. And that’s effectively what happened in the last year,” Perkins said.

So to improve the navigation of resources they’ve merged, bringing resources to one site where people can navigate in both English and Spanish.

“A one-stop shop for Latinos to go online and see what programs are available for them.”

Organizers say it doesn’t matter which stage you’re at in your entrepreneurial journey, they are here to help.