Dalton resident Josibell Sivira started her business with the help of the LAA.
LAA to expand Latina entrepreneurship program to Northwest Georgia
The LAA is expanding its signature program for Latina entrepreneurs, ¡Avanzando Juntas!, to Northwest Georgia this spring.

The LAA is bringing together community organizations in the region to make business and education resources available to Latinas who want to start their own business. This effort will contribute significantly to developing microbusinesses that will spark much-needed economic development in the region.

The LAA is joining forces with the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, the Wright School of Business at Dalton State College, the Dalton Innovation Accelerator and Georgia Northwestern Technical College to launch its popular entrepreneurship program ¡Avanzando Juntas!
The LAA will work closely with these and many other partners to ensure that Latinas can tap into existing resources and succeed as business owners. The program aims to create a pathway to success for Latinas.

“Our community partners are coalescing around the LAA to ensure that Latinos have access to these resources in a way that fits their needs,” says Mónica Cucalón, the LAA’s managing director of Economic Empowerment. “Our vision for Northwest Georgia is to create a community of Latina entrepreneurs who can provide for their families, while igniting economic activity in this region.”

The expansion to Northwest Georgia is a natural move that follows the opening of the LAA’s Northwest Georgia service center in May 2019.

The core of the ¡Avanzando Juntas! program in Northwest Georgia will be the LAA’s eight-week course for aspiring Latina entrepreneurs. It also offers one-on-one expert coaching to develop financial statements; workshops on digital marketing; and access of up to $5,000 in microloans for eligible participants.

The LAA created its Latina entrepreneurship program in 2015, funded by a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation. Nearly 1,500 Latinas in Georgia have taken the LAA’s eight-week entrepreneurship course, and about 3,500 more have benefited from other classes and benefits of the program. The Coca-Cola Foundation is supporting the program’s reach to Northwest Georgia.

Dalton resident Josibell Sivira opened her business, Josibell Insurance, after completing the LAA’s entrepreneurship course in 2020.

Josibell, who is originally from Venezuela, says that starting her own business has had a positive impact on her family. “The course is the best,” she quips. 
Enrolling in the LAA's Unidos in Finance program changed José Del Cid's life.
LAA’s banking program opens doors for immigrants

For many years, José Del Cid worked in customer service jobs, mostly in restaurants. In 2012 he went back to finish college, but still lacked the skills to work in banking.
Then in fall 2019, he enrolled in the LAA’s Unidos in Finance bank-teller training program that proved to be a life-changing experience.
Shortly after completing the program, José was working as a bilingual relationship banker for Bank of America in Gwinnett. Last month, he celebrated his one-year anniversary at the bank.
“Before I took the class at the LAA, I was unfamiliar with the banking industry,” says José. “The class was really fun and informative. We did a lot of role playing, and were trained on how to talk to clients so we can find out exactly what they need.”

José, who immigrated from El Salvador 16 years ago, is thrilled about working for Bank of America, and is now training to be a lending relationship manager. He enjoys the benefits, which include paid time off and a retirement plan with company match. He’s excited to be saving for his retirement.

José dreams of growing his career with Bank of America. "The opportunities with this company are endless."

“I love the job,” José adds. “I really like having a conversation with clients, discovering how we can help them and change their lives. Each client I meet is an opportunity to build a lasting relationship. ”
In 2020, 108 participants completed the Unidos in Finance program at the LAA.
Dear friends,

Along with the rest of the country, we are celebrating Black History Month at the LAA. As residents of Atlanta, we are fortunate to call “the city too busy to hate” home. Living here serves as a daily reminder of the history and legacy of our fellow African Americans, and we should not take that for granted.

As Latinos living in the cradle of the civil rights movement, we should take advantage of all the learning opportunities that Atlanta, Georgia and the South have to offer. The history of this movement is very recent, and we must continue to learn and relearn its lessons so as to not repeat mistakes of the past as we move forward.
Personally, this year I’ve been motivated to be more intentional in our relationships and partnerships. A small step I took this week was inviting one of our board members, Jason Esteves, to my “Conversations with the CEO,” which you can view here. In our talk, Jason reflected on his Afro-Latino identity. We also touched upon the inequities exacerbated by the pandemic as seen through his role as chair of the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education. The struggle is the same for so many communities right now, and we must continue the good fight.

Save the Date
Atlanta Outreach Center
2750 Buford Highway, NE
Atlanta, GA 30324
Northwest Georgia Outreach Center
508 E Morris St.
Dalton, GA 30721
Gwinnett Outreach Center
308 North Clayton St.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
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