Kalamazoo nonprofit helps Hispanic-owned businesses during pandemic

Limited resources mean many minority-owned businesses have less access to help. A local org is bridging the gap.

The effects of the pandemic have been especially harsh on minority communities in Michigan. That extends to Hispanic-owned businesses, which have borne an outsized brunt of the economic damage since last March.

A Kalamazoo nonprofit group may be responsible for keeping a number of those businesses from closing for good.

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El Concilio, formerly known as the Hispanic American Council, has been steadily providing aid to Hispanic-owned businesses in the Kalamazoo area for months.

One business it has helped is Teresa’s Kitchen, a family-run food truck. Owner Maria Teresa Hernandez told WWMT she tried applying for federal assistance last year but found the process onerous and confusing.

“I hear somebody, they got accountants, people to help them submit other paperwork,” she said. “And like me, a business owner, being in the kitchen every day, how do I fill all that paperwork?”

El Concilio stepped in with a $3,000 grant.

“A lot of them couldn’t get those other loans because of the language, because they didn’t know certain technology, or because they missed an accountant to have all the right documentation,” said Adrian Vasquez, the executive director of the group.

You can read more on WWMT.

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