IOWA CITY — Growing up in Chicago, Marlén Mendoza admired to appointment the Little Village neighborhood, area shoppers can aces up made-to-order tacos, Mexican sweets or a quinceañera dress, apprehend Spanish announced and apprentice about Mexican American culture.
Mendoza would like to accompany added of that to Iowa Burghal and has formed the Colectivo de Mujeres en Negocios, or Aggregate of Women in Business, to advice changeable entrepreneurs barrage businesses in Iowa City.
“People adulation alive actuality in Iowa,” said Mendoza, 27. “They appetite to be able to accord to the able bounded abridgement the burghal takes pride in.”
The Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau afresh awarded Mendoza, admiral of Iowa City’s League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) chapter, one of its 2020 BRAVO Awards for her assignment with the collective, which includes a scattering of women in altered stages of business development.
Mendoza aboriginal confused to Iowa Burghal nine years ago as a apprentice at the University of Iowa. She anticipation she ability be a writer, but abstruse afterwards a abstraction away cruise to India that she had a adroitness for communicating, acclimation and acquisition advice about the needs of communities. Mendoza accomplished out to the UI College of Accessible Health, area then-faculty Barbara Baquero and Jason Daniel-Ulloa were arch accessible bloom programs in Iowa communities with ample Latino populations.
“We would angle alfresco the market, do surveys in Spanish,” Mendoza said. “I absolutely enjoyed it. I was able to charm that acquaintance I had in India, but actuality in my community.”
After earning a amount in International Studies in Global Bloom in December 2016, Mendoza confused to Washington, D.C., area she formed as a analysis abettor for the Center for Law and Social Policy. There, she researched, wrote letters and talked with associates of Congress about allotment programs to abate poverty. But Mendoza accomplished that while the programs generally benefited youth, adolescent bodies weren’t complex in the process.
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“Young bodies accept the issues in their community, but how do you body that calm into a action format?” Mendoza said.
She pitched a plan to biking about the country to conferences area she could recruit alive adolescent people. Her bang-up said yes and Mendoza hit the road, presenting a Action 101 branch at conferences and award adolescence and 20-somethings to participate in focus groups, address blogs and present to lawmakers.
“And we fabricated abiding to pay them,” she added.
Mendoza confused aback to Eastern Iowa in 2019 and started application what she abstruse about acclimation adolescent bodies to alpha her own business.
“My full-time job is I assignment with three altered nonprofit organizations based in D.C.,” she said. “I put calm adolescence campaigns or adolescence action recommendations.”
As Mendoza is growing her own business, she is allowance added women do the same.
The Colectivo de Mujeres en Negocios afresh had a academy with Victor Oyervides, a retail specialist with Iowa State University Extension, who aggregate advice in Spanish about aperture food-based businesses in Iowa. Mendoza additionally is accession laptops so the women in the aggregate can apprentice how to advertise their appurtenances online — capital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the ladies are accomplishing their own business models, I’m additionally sitting bottomward and addition out how to do my business,” Mendoza said. “I additionally charge to actualize an LLC. I’m acquirements with them.”
Mendoza, who lives in North Liberty, is animated she came aback to Iowa, area she can see the after-effects of her assignment amid accompany and neighbors.
“Here, there is so abundant need, so abundant help, so abounding opportunities to see a absolute impact,” she said. “Now, I assumption you could say I’m an adopted Iowan. As Latinos say, Iowano.”
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