Encuentro is working to create long-lasting resources for immigrant entrepreneurs
Spanish-speaking and immigrant entrepreneurs should have the same opportunities as English-speakers”Janette Peñuñuri, Small Business Development Program Manager, Encuentro
This year, with help from The WK Kellogg Foundation, Encuentro has launched Apoyando Empresarios Immigrantes (Helping Immigrant Entrepreneurs), a 14-month fellowship program that mobilizes young immigrants to become experienced business instructors and consultants.
Janette Peñuñuri, Small Business Development Program Manager at Encuentro, says the organization recognized a demand in the Spanish-speaking community for business training and resources, but had a shortage of places to point people. Instead of hanging up the towel, Encuentro created the fellowship to build resources that would meet the need. Apoyando Empresarios Immigrantes fellows will provide the community with Spanish-language mentorship and training capacity.
“We know there are a lot of business trainings around the city, but all of them are in English,” says Janette. “There are a lot of Spanish-speaking people in Albuquerque and they’re looking for resources and trainings too. There are so many immigrants here looking to grow or create businesses and it’s important that they have the resources and tools that they need.”
The fellowship offers five participants the chance to receive paid training from other immigrant entrepreneurs on business fundamentals, social and economic justice and consulting.
This month, the fellowship welcomed ProEmpleo, a small business training organization based in Mexico City on their first trip to the U.S. Their two-week crash course in business fundamentals included trainings in human development, marketing, business management, accounting & finance, sales and customer service. The Fellows will go on to complete trainings with partners in the coming months.
Once the Fellows complete the program, each will teach small business classes of their own and offer Spanish-language consulting to businesses seeking advice. And while the classes will begin at Encuentro, Janette says the hope is for the fellows to find permanent positions as Spanish-language business instructors and consultants in other organizations across Albuquerque.
Janette says the idea is simple: mobilizing the immigrant community to build opportunities for other immigrants. “It’s really a professional development opportunity for both the fellows and the future trainees,” she says.