How Two ERGs Are Helping Latina Entrepreneurs

Latina Small Businesses

Here’s how two of the bank’s employee resource groups are working with Latina entrepreneurs, helping them prepare to launch their own businesses.

As renowned business expert Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

So that’s why two of Cadence Bank’s employee resource groups (ERG)-–Unidos (the Hispanic ERG) and Women@Cadence (the women's ERG)-–are making it easier for aspiring entrepreneurs in Gainesville, Georgia, to create their own futures.

Cadence is one of two sponsors of Hispanic Alliance Georgia’s Mujeres Emprendedoras Academy, which was started by Vanesa Sarazua in 2018 to provide Latina micro-entrepreneurs with support, tools and resources to start and manage their own business ventures.

Latina Women Are Enthusiastic Entrepreneurs

According to data from the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Institute, Latina women in Georgia are starting businesses at six times the national rate.

“Gainesville’s population is 41.3% Latino who typically reside in area neighborhoods that have a 50% or higher poverty level,” said Janice Ramirez, a personal banker with Cadence at the Gainesville, Georgia, branch, and member of both the Unidos and Women@Cadence Workforce ERGs.

“I learned about the Mujeres Emprendedoras Academy and the impact it is making by helping Latino women break out of the cycle of poverty,” she continued. “Cadence has a reputation of helping historically underserved and underrepresented communities build banking relationships, so I reached out to our Emerging Markets & Outreach Program with a proposal, which was approved. We’re currently in our first year of providing support.”

How The Academy Works

After a woman enrolls in the Mujeres Emprendedoras Academy, she is registered to take a series of 13 free, self-paced online courses from DreamBuilder, a resource designed to support first-time women business owners. The courses are available in Spanish or English and cover the fundamentals of owning a business like deciding what business to start, understanding what’s needed in the marketplace, pricing, accounting, managing risk, marketing, finding funding, setting goals, hiring staff and more.

“In addition to the online training platform, we get together monthly to network,” said Sarazua, who is founder and executive director of Hispanic Alliance Georgia. “We also have in-person finance workshops, which are led by Latina Cadence volunteers who teach them in Spanish.”

Sarazua continued, “The entrepreneurs feel so supported because they are getting information that’s crucial to their business’ success from a businesswoman who is from their community. It really helps them see all the possibilities.”

Upon completing the online coursework, the entrepreneur is equipped with a written business plan that will help her turn her dream into a reality. The Academy also gives her help to register her business in Georgia. Then at graduation, she’s awarded a $500 grant to be used to offset any business startup expenses.

The Payoff

“I love that I have the ability to be a part of something I am so passionate about, while also educating and sharing the opportunities that Cadence Bank has to offer,” said Ramirez. “This amazing program provides aspiring business owners in the Latina community with the necessary skills and resources to turn dreams into a reality that can make a positive impact on their family and the local economy.”

Interested in starting your own business but not sure about financing it? Visit our Small Business web page to learn more about Small Business Association (SBA) loans and ways Cadence Bankers can help you through the qualification process.

About Cadence Bank’s ERGs

Cadence’s employee resource groups (ERGs) are spearheaded by the company’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging Office and led by our teammates. They support the bank’s commitment to building an inclusive culture and providing teammates with opportunities to connect and collaborate on ideas and actions that inspire positive change within our organization and the communities we serve. These groups allow teammates with commonalities to meet, support each other and produce outcomes that help improve their business and job satisfaction.

About Cadence Bank’s Reinvestments in Our Community*

Cadence Bank teammates are passionate about creating positive change in our communities and fostering sustainable economic growth. It’s a large part of who we are. Strong communities build strong banks. In turn, strong banks empower the communities they serve. We further understand that financial services can be a powerful tool for reducing inequality and providing more people with access to opportunities. That's why we are committed to ensuring that our services remain accessible and fair for everyone.

In 2022, we continued to support historically underserved and underrepresented communities in building banking relationships through our Emerging Markets & Outreach Program and other programs. Our approach encompasses market segments reflecting groups with diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, including Black, Hispanic and Asian communities; un/underbanked, low- to moderate-income, and middle-income populations; students; young/early professionals and entrepreneurs; older adults and those with limited English proficiency (LEP). This innovative approach leads with intentionality, optimizes the use of our company’s talent, and aligns with our vision of helping people, companies and communities prosper. The net impact results in an expanded and more diverse customer base that is representative of our local communities.

*Source: 2022 Cadence Bank Environmental, Social and Governance Report.

Latina Entrepreneurs

(Pictured Left to Right): Latina micro-entrepreneurs Nataly Morales Villa and Melissa Silva enjoy networking and receiving Cadence “swag” at the Mujeres Emprendedoras Academy gala on December 5, 2023.

Mujeres Emprendedoras Academy

(Pictured Left to Right): Lilliam Ramos, Cadence Bank’s Janice Ramirez and Hispanic Alliance Georgia’s founder and executive director Vanessa Sarazua celebrate the Mujeres Emprendedoras Academy’s five-year anniversary of educating and empowering Latina micro-entrepreneurs.


This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.


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