Up-and-Coming Hispanic Startups Are Strengthening Arizona’s Economy


Forty-five Hispanic entrepreneurs from Maricopa County and 10 from Yavapai County are boosting the statewide economy as they prepare to graduate from Local First Arizona’s Spanish-language business accelerator Fuerza Local.

The startups from Cottonwood, Sedona, Mesa, Maryvale, central Phoenix and south Phoenix range from restaurants to photography and life coaching to construction.

Fuerza Local is a six-month business training course offered in Spanish at no cost to local business owners to support them in obtaining the necessary resources and tools to have healthy and successful businesses.

With a goal of building an inclusive, sustainable Arizona economy, Local First Arizona has graduated more than 800 leaders since 2013 from Fuerza Local and more than 40 leaders since 2020 from its Black-centered business academy, We Rise.

The programs aim to end age-old racial wealth gaps and unfair banking and lending practices by connecting Hispanic and Black business owners to mentors, customers, the community and sources of capital.

During Fuerza Local, entrepreneurs learn everything from basic fundamentals to advanced skills to develop their businesses, creating a firm foundation to achieve their short- and long-term goals. All classes are taught by professionals and experts in the area, offering participants the opportunity to learn from years of experience and knowledge.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these graduating cohorts. Their hard work and dedication inspire everyone,” said Local First Arizona CEO Kimber Lanning. “More than 800 small business entrepreneurs have graduated from this six-month program, which is helping to shape the future of Arizona, in our rural and urban areas alike. Our most sincere congratulations to all of these amazing business owners.”

The two graduation ceremonies celebrating the entrepreneurs’ dedication and hard work also will include displays of their products and services for attendees and future clients.

Fuerza Local in Maricopa County is sponsored by the City of Mesa, Arizona Community Foundation, MariSol Federal Credit Union, Hensley Beverage Company, Thunderbirds Charities, Maricopa County, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, Arizona Financial Credit Union and APS.

Fuerza Local in Yavapai County is sponsored by the City of Sedona, City of Cottonwood and Prestamos CDFI, a division of Chicanos Por La Causa.

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