Photo courtesy Project Vida

Project Vida gets $25K Bank of America Grant for Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program

Project Vida officials announced Tuesday that the organization received a $25,000 grant from Bank of America to help foster economic prosperity for low- and moderate-income Latinx entrepreneurs.

“We are excited to partner with Bank of America to provide support for low- and moderate-income Hispanic micro-entrepreneurs in El Paso,” said Bill Schlesinger, Project Vida Co-Director. “This grant will allow us to further offer technical assistance to micro-businesses in El Paso, retain and create jobs, and sustain growth in these enterprises.”

According to Project Vida officials, the funds will help expand the services provided by their Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program (MTAP), including business and financial literacy, management skill-building, and technical training through mentorship.

According to the 2010 census, more than 82 percent of the El Paso community is Hispanic. However, when starting or growing a business, minorities can face significant barriers to accessing resources that increase their potential for success.

Through MTAP, Project Vida aims to remove those barriers and empower Hispanic microenterprises, ensuring they are supported and given the tools to create a sustainable business model.

“Latino entrepreneurs are among the fastest growing segments in the country, and that’s especially true here in El Paso. Bank of America is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes, which fuel our local economy,” said Crystal Bernal, Bank of America El Paso Small Business Banker.

“Our philanthropic investment acknowledges the transformational impact that Project Vida is having in El Paso and demonstrates our deep commitment to further economic mobility.”

Microenterprises in the community have seen the results from Project Vida’s MTAP program: CIMA Hardware was able to improve its accounting through technology, efficiently increase inventory and pursue a loan; Guaderrama’s Flowers opened a storefront and expanded refrigeration to allow for additional capacity; and a new client, Volume Lash Lounge, has recently revised its business plan and financial projections to expand to a second, larger location.

A not-for-profit agency dedicated to comprehensive programs supporting the El Paso community, Project Vida began serving the Chamizal neighborhood of south-central in 1991. Since then, the agency has expanded both services and the communities it serves to become one of El Paso’s largest social impact agencies.