Supporting Immigrant, Spanish-Speaking, and Rural Entrepreneurs at Our San Luis Valley Site

“Seeing other entrepreneurs succeed has been our biggest inspiration and support.”

We believe entrepreneurship can play a key role in strengthening our rural communities. Yet those communities often lack the resources and investment necessary to create an inclusive and prosperous small business economy.

Since 2021, we have partnered with First Southwest Community Fund (along with the SLV Small Business Development Center) to support rural entrepreneurs in the San Luis Valley. FSWCF operates on the belief that supporting rural startups, nonprofits, and small business owners can enable sustainable, thriving rural communities. They support rural entrepreneurs in Colorado by making non-traditional capital available to local small businesses, in addition to technical assistance, education, and mentorship.

So far, we have supported 45 San Luis Valley entrepreneurs through our partnership with FSWCF. 96% of our Business Idea Lab and Business Launch Boot Camp participants have been female, and 76% have been Hispanic or Latino.

For our fourth San Luis Valley cohort of Business Launch Boot Camp, which kicks off this week, FSWCF will provide access to capital to participants through their Fortaleza Fund. The Fortaleza Fund is designed to support immigrant entrepreneurs in rural Colorado. Along with RMMFI, FSWCF is committed to providing programming that is accessible and culturally relevant, and this boot camp will be facilitated entirely in Spanish.

Thanks to our partnership with FSWCF and the SLV SBDC, we’ve seen strong outcomes in our SLV programs so far:

  • 82% of Business Idea Lab graduates felt more confident in themselves as business owners, and 90% felt more confident about the success of their business idea.
  • 96% of Business Launch Boot Camp graduates had a clearer vision of what their business will look like in 12 months, and 100% felt they had supportive mentors they can go to for advice and guidance.

We’re grateful for our partnership with these trusted community leaders in the San Luis Valley, and we’re excited to see the impact we can create together for rural entrepreneurs in 2023.