ACCION WELead Program Targets Emerging Women Entrepreneurs
New Program Forges Partnerships between Emerging and Established Business Women
ACCION New Mexico has launched a new initiative to boost success among the nonprofit lender’s emerging women entrepreneurs by connecting these up-and-coming business leaders with mentorship opportunities and support.
The ACCION Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program (WELead) aims to forge partnerships between ACCION clients and established business women and generate support for ACCION's efforts to break down barriers to capital for women entrepreneurs.
"Our goal is to create vibrant partnerships between ACCION’s women clients and successful business women in the community through this new initiative," ACCION WELead Chairwoman Laura Hueter Bass said. Bass, a highly sought-after community leader and the former executive director of the Albuquerque Community Foundation, said she chose to spearhead WELead because of ACCION’s strong reputation and her belief in the transformative power of entrepreneurship among women.
Women play a critical role in New Mexico’s business community at all levels. Recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics rank New Mexico second in the nation for the number of women-owned businesses, tied with Maryland. The Census figures showed the number of women-owned businesses in New Mexico climbed from 9 percent in 1997 to 31 percent in 2002. The national rate increased by 20 percent over the same period.
Bass led ACCION leaders Monday during a kick-off luncheon at ACCION client Dagmar's Delectables. More than 50 business owners, community leaders, ACCION clients and others were on hand for the WELead inaugural event. Restaurant owner Dagmar Mondragon told those on hand than that community support has been a critical factor in her success. Mondragon has worked with ACCION for more than a decade building her dream into a local culinary favorite that has a staff of seven. She started with a $1,000 loan in 1996 and returned last May for $15,000, her sixth ACCION loan.
The ACCION WELead Program has generated strong community response among those who want to support efforts to encourage partnership and greater access among women entrepreneurs. An anonymous donor has already contributed $10,000 to support ACCION's WELead efforts.
ACCION New Mexico Communications Director
(505) 243-8844 ext. 238
(505) 270-0285 cell