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Latinx entrepreneurs in Sussex County are getting a boost from M&T Bank, which is investing another $100,000 as a grant to La Plaza Delaware that will allow it to serve more Spanish-speaking downstaters in 2023.
This new investment follows last year’s $100,000 M&T grant to La Plaza that supported a 12-week Spanish-language business development program and a loan pool administered by True Access Capital that offers $2,500 to $10,000 loans to Latinx-owned small businesses.
The number of Sussex County residents who identify as Hispanic or Latinx increased almost 60% from 2010 to 2021, according to US Census data. About 10% of Sussex County is Latinx.
As Technical.ly has previously reported, Latinx entrepreneurs often face added barriers to launching and growing their businesses. Access to capital and business development programs can help.
“M&T’s commitment to La Plaza is one way we’re supporting the Hispanic and Latino community in Sussex County, but it certainly won’t be the only way,” said Nick Lambrow, the bank’s regional president for Delaware, in a statement. “While we’re focused on strengthening our existing relationships with organizations like La Plaza, we also want to increase our cultural fluency and spark additional growth and stability within this community. That’s important to the overall success of Delaware.”
In 2021, M&T launched multicultural banking centers across its markets, including one in Elsmere and one in Georgetown. These locations are fully bilingual, with both employees and banking materials in Spanish and English, as well as services in 15 languages, including Chinese, Korean, Hindi, German, Italian, Portuguese and Russian.
“We are building what I call a ‘culturally fluent bank’ — that’s our vision,” David Femi, currently SVP of business and professional banking regional manager for M&T Bank, told Technical.ly at the time. “We want to be the bank of choice for all multicultural communities, and in doing that we’ve identified communities across our network, including in Delaware, that depict high concentrations of racial, ethnic and language diversity. Within this community, we ask ourselves how might we connect at a local level with local flavor so we can truly understand our communities and our customers.”
The Georgetown branch is also home to La Plaza’s Launcher business development program.
“M&T Bank has supported us and our vision from the very beginning,” La Plaza Delaware Executive Director Mary Dupont said. “We’re very grateful and excited to see the many growth opportunities that these funds will provide our business owners and the communities where they live and work.”
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