Jennifer Lopez joins Grameen America’s “Raising Latina Voices” to kick off Hispanic Heritage Mont
Event Continues Efforts by Lopez and Grameen America to Empower 600,000 Latina Entrepreneurs
Jennifer Lopez joined Grameen America’s “Raising Latina Voices” event to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrate her Limitless Labs and Grameen America partnership.
The partnership announced in June seeks to advance both Lopez’s latest philanthropic project, Limitless Labs, which aims to support Latina-owned small businesses, as well as Grameen America’s goal to empower 600,000 Latina entrepreneurs across 50 U.S. cities with $14 billion in life-changing business capital and 6 million hours of financial education and training by 2030.
Jennifer spoke alongside Andrea Jung, President & CEO of Grameen America to an audience of over 400 Latina entrepreneurs.
“What I saw growing up was that it was very, very difficult for people like me, low-income Latinos—especially women, to get access to capital. In fact, we remain sixty percent less likely to get loans from national banks—and that is fundamentally unfair and fundamentally un-American, and it made the promise of the American dream feel partly hollow. That’s why I’m here today, alongside Grameen, to change that!” (Jennifer Lopez)
“Today, what I am trying to do is make that promise real for everyone in this country and by making sure people who look like me or come from places like where I come from have the same opportunity to borrow money to start their own business and make their dreams come true.
I want to speak directly to Latina women and say, “There is access, opportunity, and most importantly money here for you, and you deserve it just as much as anyone else!” (Jennifer Lopez)
“Don’t give up, ever. Listen but be strong. Be kind but be resolute. Be generous but be firm. Be caring but be professional. Be open but have boundaries. Above all, be honest,” said Jennifer Lopez.
“We don’t need a handout, we need a hand up,” said Jennifer Lopez.
“The best advice I can give to my kids – you can be whoever you believe you can be. Find that in yourself and don’t give up. Learn from people who have done it well, then take those ideas and innovate and refine them and make them your own. And listen to your parents, we aren’t quite as clueless as we seem when you’re 14,” said Jennifer Lopez.
The event was a celebration of the Grameen Entrepreneurs and their mission to “Raise Latina Voices” who are all business owners in the Los Angeles area. Additional programming from today’s event offered various tips and tricks to help Latina entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level:
· Session 1: Health & Wellness “Vivir Sano” led by Violeta Rodríguez and Meritxell Roca
· Session 2: Branding 101 with Desiree Gruber, Founder & CEO of Full Picture
· Session 3: Social Media 101 with Nuria SantaMaria Wolfe of META
· As well as success stories from 2 Grameen Entrepreneurs interviewed by Telemundo Correspondent Nicole Suarez (Karina Barbosa and Iris Lynette Arambulo)
A Grameen of America member, Roselani Lozano, set up a display of her beautiful dresses from her business, Roselani Love. Morgan Radford of NBC, Johana Suarez of Telemundo, and Nandita Bakhshi, President and CEO of Bank of The West, were also in attendance.
Presenting sponsor for today’s event was Bank of the West. Additional partners included Jennifer Lopez’s Limitless Labs, NBC Universal, Telemundo and Meta with accompanying donations from Body Armor, SmartWater, Goli, ZenWTR and JLO Beauty.
Release from June 9th announcing the JL Limitless Labs / Grameen Partnership
Leading Non-Profit Microfinance Organization Grameen America Provides Business Capital, Education, and Support Services to Propel Financial Empowerment for Women of Color.
Jennifer Lopez will Serve as Grameen America’s National Ambassador to Champion Financial Inclusion for Latina Entrepreneurs Historically Excluded from Financial Services and the Partnership will Live Under Lopez’s Limitless Labs
NEW YORK, June 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Global icon Jennifer Lopez and Grameen America , the nation’s fastest-growing microfinance organization, today announced they are partnering to advance financial empowerment for Latina businesswomen historically excluded from the financial mainstream.
Grameen America provides access to business capital, credit- and asset-building, financial education, and peer support to enable women living below the federal poverty level to boost their income and create jobs in their communities.
The new partnership seeks to advance both Lopez’s latest philanthropic project, Limitless Labs, which aims to support Latina-owned small businesses, as well as Grameen America’s goal to empower 600,000 Latina entrepreneurs across 50 U.S. cities with $14 billion in life-changing business capital and 6 million hours of financial education and training by 2030.
Lopez joins as Grameen America’s National Ambassador to advocate for and mentor the organization’s network of over 150,000 small businesses run by women in predominantly Latinx communities across the United States.
Limitless Labs, the home for all of Lopez’s philanthropic and values-driven work, aims to uplift, educate and provide essential resources to underserved communities like the one in The Bronx where Lopez grew up. Additional focus areas include youth empowerment, civic engagement, and empowering women with the confidence to live limitlessly.
Grameen America envisions an inclusive society in which all entrepreneurs, regardless of gender, race or income, have access to fair and affordable financial services to support upward economic mobility.
The organization provides ongoing financial education to members and reports microloan repayments to credit bureaus to enable participants to build their financial identities.
Since its founding in 2008, Grameen America has served over 150,000 women in 23 U.S. cities, distributed $2.6 billion in loans, and helped create and maintain 157,000 jobs. The organization’s repayment rate is over 99% and its members have achieved an average credit score of 644 through participation in the program.
To kick off her role as National Ambassador, Lopez will motivate, promote, and inspire Latina businesswomen, helping them understand the pathway to financial independence and literacy through joining the Grameen America microloan program.
Lopez will mentor the organization’s existing Latina business owners, educating them on the importance of credit and asset-building and developing a savings program to promote financial resilience. The partnership will also enhance Grameen America’s financial education and training platform, prioritizing digital and multimedia resources to promote financial literacy.
“Being Latino in this country has always been a matter of pride for me. I am humbled and beyond grateful to partner with Grameen America,” said Jennifer Lopez. “We’re building pathways to employment and leadership opportunities. There’s so much strength in this community and we’re harnessing that.
This partnership will create equality, inclusivity, and opportunity for Latina women in business. This will change the fabric of America!”
“ Jennifer Lopez is a trailblazer, having given visibility and advocacy to ensure Latina women are educated, financially empowered, and healthy,” said Andrea Jung, President & CEO of Grameen America. “Grameen America is the only organization with the national scale, reach, and proven model required to deploy $14 billion in loan capital to emerging businesswomen in Latinx communities. Together we will shape entrepreneurship as a viable pathway to success for Latina women who have historically lacked access to the traditional financial markets and are often marginalized from economic opportunity.”
Despite gaps in opportunity, Latina entrepreneurs represent the fastest-growing, yet untapped, segment of U.S. small business owners. In the past 10 years, the number of Latino-owned small businesses has grown 44% compared to just 4% for non-Latinos, according to a recent report by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.
The same report notes that Latino-owned businesses are significantly less likely than white-owned businesses to receive loans from national banks, despite demonstrating strong lending criteria.
For women, financial exclusion is disproportionately higher as only 4% of all small business loans from mainstream financial institutions go to women, according to a report by the National Women’s Business Council.”
Asking for a loan from a bank is not as easy as people think, and even more challenging for businesswomen in my community,” said Maria Lugo, Grameen America member and owner of Who’s Papi?
Tires by Papi, an auto-repair and tire shop located in Woodside, Queens. Lugo joined Grameen America in 2011 to revitalize her family’s struggling business. Today, Lugo’s thriving business has expanded in its size, services, and staff to meet growing demand. Most importantly, Lugo’s savings allowed her to send her three children to college.
“The road to business success is not always easy to navigate, but with hard work and access to financial services, education, and mentorship, it’s possible to achieve your vision,” said Lugo. “Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher.”