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MEET PROSPERA'S ENTREPRENEURS

Isabel

Isabel, founding member of El Cafecito

“Latina Power is the power of the US Economy. The power of the Global economy! From the time that a woman begins to work she has economic weight. In one way or another we devalue that economic power. If a housewife can’t bring home food or manage money the entire family is in ruins…launching my business is a challenge -- as an immigrant, as a woman. People often think that it’s not possible. If you don’t have knowhow it’s not possible, If you don’t know the language it’s not possible...but we are close and now I know that yes we can. “

How are you connected to Prospera?

Prospera is the support that many of us need to reach a good level of economic development in this country. To do this like one wants to is not easy.

With Prospera’s support you can develop yourself like you desire.

I already graduated from Prospera’s Founder’s School. We continue to work together to launch the business.

Our connection to Prospera right now is about giving our business that last push. We will also stay connected and available to support Prospera as needed.

To recognize the support they gave us. Prospera gave me the tools so that I could find the path to the dream I’ve always had.

What inspires you most about our mission?

That Prospera is supporting women who in one way or another feel that our dream was stalled.

We come to a place in our lives when we begin to wonder whether we’ve forgotten that dream.

Prospera is there for women like me who are on the brink of setting that dream aside.

Tell me about your immigration story?

I was born in Puebla, Mexico. Raised in Mexico City.

I am like many people with a dream of launching a business. In Mexico it takes longer due to competition.

I wanted to go to the United States to see for myself whether people really live a better way. I didn’t see myself as someone who was running from a difficult situation. I came here to look for another opportunity.

I thought that life in this country would be simple, easy to live. In comparison to Mexico City, it is true. When I arrived I realized that I was in fact fleeing.

I realized that I had suffered from personal violence.

When you arrive alone, and you look around and see that you don’t know anyone, you don’t have money, getting a job is not as easy as you thought it was going to be.

You think, what am I doing here? What was I looking for? You want to go back! You say to yourself: no, I’m not going back...

All the work I did to get here. Now stop the tears and if you have to make lemonade well that’s the way it has to be.

I spent an entire year and a half telling myself I’m going to stay here. And then my situation started to improve and I started to feel better.

Finding a job is not easy so I decided I wanted to start a business. I searched and searched and then I got this notice about Prospera’s programs and I said let’s see what this is all about.

What does Latina power mean to you?

“Latina Power is the power of the US Economy. The power of the Global economy! From the time that a woman begins to work she has economic weight.

In one way or another we devalue that economic power. If a housewife can’t bring home food or manage money the entire family is in ruins.

Name a Latina who has made a difference in your life? Who is she and how did she impact you?

Frida Khalo because she suffered physically, mentally and morally and she picked herself up. She captured her life through art and that led to economic power.

The way that she represented herself. That is something that women are missing.

The ability to represent ourselves in this very moment of our existence. I see so many women who have tremendous potential but we don’t know how to project ourselves in the moment. We remain in space.

She painted when she was hospitalized. In that instant. What gives me life in this instant?

What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your life/work? How did you overcome that challenge? What did you learn from it?

My economic stability was a huge challenge. There are many ways to develop yourself but finding something that really satisfies me?

To not stop searching until I find work that I love and do well, to not work just out of obligation.

To go from I do it but I don’t like it. I do it but I don’t want to -- to this I want to do. This I like. To stay for personal satisfaction.

I think Prospera has given me an opportunity -- I have to take it.…launching my business is a challenge -- as an immigrant, as a woman.

People often think that it’s not possible. If you don’t have knowhow it’s not possible.

If you don’t know the language it’s not possible...but we are close and now I know that yes we can. “

If you could wave a realistic magic wand, what would you wish for Prospera and the Latina entrepreneurs we work with?

For the women I would mark the path to success so that each one of them could finally arrive. Give them the path. It’s not short, it’s long, but be patient.

For Prospera I wish for many businesses that promote Prospera so that Prospera doesn’t have to do much marketing.

Because we would be the ones doing the marketing. How do you see yourself contributing to this magic? 

I see myself as part of a chain of two or 3 cafecitos in 3 cities because the problem isn’t about being a survivor.

These cafecitos are there to provide economic stability for survivors and to give them an opportunity to recuperate their self esteem.

When you recuperate your self esteem, your balance and you also have your basic needs met, this lifts you.

That is what we need to get out of an abusive relationship.

What else would you like us to know about you?

That I feel great about what I am doing. That I have patience. That despite all these challenges we are connected.

That gives me strength. We are still desperate to launch our business and the story is not over.

We have the power to continue and we will. We almost gave up but we continue!