We all know Jennifer Lopez as an actress and singer but she’s also a businesswoman including her skincare line, JLo Beauty and now she’s giving back to help fellow entrepreneurs. She teamed up with Grameen America, a New York City-based micro-finance nonprofit organization on a mission to help 600,000 Latina entrepreneurs with $14 billion in capital. The partnership with Limitless Labs, the program she launched last year for Latina entrepreneurs, will also provide six million hours of financial training and education by 2030, according to a press release.
“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,” Lopez said in a statement. “We’re building pathways to employment and leadership opportunities.”
Latina entrepreneurship has grown recently with Latinas representing 40 percent of all Latinx business owners and the number of Latina-led employer firms has grown 20 percent within the last five-year period of data available, according to the 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report released by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Despite this increase, Latinx-owned businesses are less likely to receive a loan from the bank versus their white, non-Latinx counterparts, the study found. Only 4 percent of all small business loans from mainstream financial institutions go to women, according to a report by the National Women’s Business Council.
“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 formal financial markets and are often marginalized from economic opportunity,” Andrea Jung, President & CEO of Grameen America, said in a press release.
In order to get the loans applicants must become a member of Grameen and they’re required to complete a week-long financial training course before receiving the loan. They are then required to take weekly financial literacy sessions and must also make loan payments weekly, Inc reported. Grameen America provides ongoing financial education to members and reports microloan repayments to credit bureaus to help them build credit. Since its founding in 2008, it has served over 150,000 women in 23 U.S. cities and distributed $2.6 billion in loans. The organization’s repayment rate is over 99 percent and its members have achieved an average credit score of 644 through participation in the program.
“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!” Lopez added.