Next month, Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and M&T Bank are kicking off an accelerator course for local entrepreneurs that will be held entirely in Spanish.
Up to 25 local entrepreneurs will take part in the two-month accelerator for Latinx entrepreneurs, which is the first M&T is hosting in a language besides English. According to Census data, almost 20% of Prince George’s County’s population identifies as Hispanic, and it hosts the second-largest amount of Hispanic-owned businesses in the state.
The seven-week course will kick off on April 20 and take place in person on Thursdays in Prince George’s County. Entrepreneurs will participate in sessions on business planning, establishing credit, managing bank accounts, pitching for grants, marketing, branding and licensing from M&T representatives and the EDC. The program will culminate in a pitch competition in June, with the winner receiving $5,000 from M&T.
“What we’re looking for, really, is to teach the Hispanic, Latino, Spanish-speaking community about the different resources they have available — not only from the county but as well from the banking industry,” said Karla Bermudez, an M&T assistant VP and branch manager, to Technical.ly.
Rocio Treminio-Lopez, the Latino business liaison for Prince George’s County EDC, said that during the pandemic, the org saw Latinx founders struggle with accessing emergency funds. With programs like this, the EDC is trying to close the gap.
“When we tried to put out different programs and grants, the Latino business community were the last people to apply for those grants,” Treminio-Lopez said. “And when they did apply, we found out that a lot of them failed their application process because they didn’t have the financials in order, or they didn’t know how to get their basic financial information. So that makes them not successful in applying for the grant.”
M&T has already developed similar English-language-based programs with Baltimore City and Montgomery, Howard and Frederick counties. Last year, the bank also offered a $100,000 grant to La Plaza Delaware to support the state’s Spanish-speaking population and entrepreneurs. M&T and the EDC also have plans for an English version of the accelerator to launch this year.
“This is going to be beneficial and this is just the starting point,” Treminio-Lopez said. “More programs will be added or come along because the community will be getting familiar with the resources that we provide here in the county. They don’t have to go far away from their businesses to get information that is right here.”
Interested founders must apply by April 14, and will be enrolled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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