Jonathan J. Higuera

New initiative for Latino entrepreneurs

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businessownerTurning ideas into solutions is how the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) describes its work. Since created by former President Bill Clinton in 2005, CGI has brought together hundreds, perhaps thousands, of committed leaders to tackle vexing global issues with innovative ideas followed by commitments to action.

The result has been billions of dollars delivered to programs and projects in 180 countries as part of these commitments. In 2011, the initiative added CGI America, which is devoted to job creation and economic recovery here in the U.S.

Now, U.S.-based Latino small business owners could become the beneficiaries of Clinton’s philanthropic vision.

CGI America’s commitment to unlocking new investment capital to grow local economies and promote thriving neighborhoods has led to an investment expected to catalyze $70 million to community-based, small business districts in predominantly Latino neighborhoods. Collectively, the consortium expects to create 4,000 jobs by supporting the start-up, or expansion, of 1,500 small businesses in Latino communities. Among the lead partners is Arizona’s own Community Development Corporation, Chicanos por la Causa, Inc. Other lead partners are San Antonio-based National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, Acción Texas, Inc., also based in San Antonio, and Valley Economic Development Center in Los Angeles. Collectively, they, along with a national network of non-profit organizations, will:

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Provide culturally- and linguistically-relevant, small business development services to 5,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs;

Supply $50 million in small business lending (loans above $50,000);

Leverage $15 million in financing for economic development projects in neighborhood-based, small business districts;

Provide training and technical support to 200 non-profit practitioners to advance the readiness of specific entrepreneurship-related programs and projects.

“Latino entrepreneurs are an important pillar of the U.S. economy and a key to on-going economic recovery,” said Noel Poyo, executive director of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB). “Our ‘Commitment to Action’ to CGI America will generate small business growth, create jobs and galvanize the NALCAB Entrepreneurship Program started in 2011.”

The Initiative is a testament to former President Bill Clinton’s commitment to use his influence to support important causes and to ensure that his legacy extends far beyond his presidency.

The CGI has brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, and major philanthropists to develop “Commitments to Action.” To date, CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which have improved the lives of over 400 million people. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at more than $73.1 billion.

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