SAN ANTONIO – A new initiative meant to help Latino businesses thrive has kicked off on the West Side of San Antonio.
The Alamo City was one of six majority Latino cities chosen in July 2021 to partner with the Aspen Institute in an attempt to create stronger business “ecosystems.” Since August 2021, a group of local organizations have been crafting various strategies to help small businesses on the city’s heavily Hispanic West Side through the local initiative dubbed ESTAR West.
The strategies include: outreach to businesses to help connect them with resources, providing equipment and training so businesses can better compete in a digital economy, reinvest in West Side business corridors, attract more businesses to the area, and avoid displacing longtime residents in the process.
“We all have our individual programs that we can actually help them figure out how to get capital and how to get a loan to grow their business, how to get a city contract and really start to grow their opportunities. But they’re not going to know that if they don’t have a way - we don’t have a way to connect with them on a regular basis,” said Prosper West San Antonio President and CEO Ramiro Gonzales, whose nonprofit is serving as the lead organization.
The involvement of the Aspen Institute brings advantages, too.
“We create a community of practice among the cities and the ecosystems. We connect them to federal policymakers, and very important, connect them to diverse capital providers - people in philanthropy, private capital, and ensure that at least the work that’s been done at the local level gets national exposure,” said Domenika Lynch, executive director of the Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Program.
Businesses who are interested in help can contact Prosper West San Antonio.
Though the initiative is aimed at Latino businesses, Gonzales said it is open to others in the West Side, too.
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