Casa Latinos Unidos is supporting the economic development of the Latinx community of Linn and Benton Counties. We do this through our Community Economic Inclusion core programmatic area, which includes three lines of work: financial education and coaching, supporting immigrants start micro-enterprises, and workforce training with youth. As part of this, since summer 2023 we have been implementing a micro-enterprise pilot named “Semillero”, coordinated by our staff member Gabriela Orellana.
The project has the purpose of supporting the Latinx immigrant community start businesses through one-on-one coaching, taking participants through the steps necessary to build a business plan, obtain the necessary licenses to operate, design the marketing strategy, and start the business. In this pilot, Gabriela is working with two members of the community. One of them, Guadalupe, is a single mother who came to CLU through the organization’s financial education program. With Guadalupe we are working on developing a housekeeping services company. The other, Liliana, also came to CLU through our financial education program. Gabriela is working with her on developing a landscaping business, in which she is collaborating with her husband.
The work in this Community Economic Inclusion core programmatic area has been funded through contracts and grants from the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments, Samaritan Social Accountability Grant, the Willamette Workforce Partnership, and other funding sources. Our plan is to further expand these projects and in this way fill a gap in the availability of these kinds of supports to the Latinx community, including members of indigenous communities from Latin America who have settled in Linn and Benton Counties. We collaborate on these projects with the LBCC Small Business Development Center, DevNW, and the Community Services Consortium.