Mesa, AZ (September 13, 2016) – The Fuerza Local Business Accelerator program, a project of the Local First Arizona Foundation, is proud to announce its most recent expansion project and new location in Mesa, Arizona, with support from a grant from the Maricopa Industrial Development Authority. Mesa classes are hosted at Rancho del Arte, an apartment complex that serves low income families in Downtown Mesa. The seventh cohort of the Accelerator program consists of twelve small businesses that will learn from industry experts about the basics of opening and running a successful business. An additional 24 businesses are currently enrolled in the Phoenix location.
Since its launch in 2013, the accelerator program has graduated 80 small businesses. All of which completed rigorous course work, including a business plan that outlines the company’s goals. The expansion comes after a big demand and interest in the free 6-month program. Thanks to sponsors, grants, and community support, the program has been able to change the lives of dozens of Spanish-speaking business owners throughout the Valley.
“While taking the accelerator program, the instructors encouraged me to think outside the box and look for creative partnerships in which all parties have a win-win,” said Brandon Ornelas, fourth cohort graduate, and owner of Breezy Pop. “This helped me double my revenue in a short month.”
“We’re turning a corner where people are starting to understand that we need to invest in this community and grow it in order to see economic prosperity,” said Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona Foundation Founder and Director. “Small businesses, especially underserved business owners, rely on resources and programs like the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator to grow and expand their companies.”
The expansion continues to make a big impact, and has gotten a positive response from the state. The Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) recently approved a $144,000 grant to help expand the program, allowing it to develop in more communities throughout the Valley, and reach an even bigger audience. The grant will support 72 businesses through the Accelerator program in Phoenix, Mesa, Avondale, and Maryvale in 2017.
“Small businesses are what keep this community diverse and strong,” said Edgar Olivo, Business Accelerator Program Director. “As long as we give them the proper support and tools to thrive, they’ll continue to give back and create a more vibrant community.”
Applications for the 8th class will be accepted in October. For more information on the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program visit: www.fuerzalocal.org.
About Fuerza Local:
Fuerza Local, founded in 2012 and meaning “Local Strength” in Spanish, is Local First Arizona’s Spanish language initiative. Local First Arizona was the first local business organization in the country to implement such an initiative. Fuerza Local mission is to bring the “Buy Local” message to the Spanish-speaking preferred community, strengthen ties between Spanish-speaking business owners, and provide tools for Latino microbusinesses to thrive and create jobs in their communities. More information is available at www.FuerzaLocal.org.
About the Local First Arizona Foundation
Local First Arizona Foundation (LFAF) is a statewide non-profit organization working to strengthen communities and local economies through growing, supporting, and celebrating locally owned businesses throughout the state of Arizona. LFAF is also Arizona’s certified Rural Development Council and the sister organization of Local First Arizona. LFAF educates consumers, stakeholders, business leaders, and policymakers about the significant economic, civic, and cultural benefits of strong local economies. The foundation’s initiatives focus on developing a better food system, supporting historically underserved Latino entrepreneurs, and empowering rural communities to drive Arizona forward. More at www.localfirstazfoundation.org.