In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Securian Multicultural Network held a conversation with Henry Jiménez, director and president of the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC).
Securian Financial employees had the opportunity to learn about the Latino community in Minnesota and different ways to support the Latino community, not just during this month, but throughout the year.
LEDC’s mission is “to transform our community by creating economic opportunities for Latinos.” As the only Latino-focused and Latino-based community development financial institution (CDFI), the LEDC continues to make a huge economic impact in the Twin Cities.
“We want to make sure that there’s a way for [our clients] to build generational wealth,” said Jiménez. “We’re not just helping folks start businesses. We’re helping conserve our culture [by] those businesses being able to provide what the Latino community needs.”
The Latino community continues to grow in Minnesota. Forty years ago, there were about 30,000 Latinos in Minnesota. The last census indicates there are almost 400,000 Latinos in Minnesota - nearly 15 times the growth. Now more than ever, Latino businesses across the Twin Cities need economic opportunities and assistance.
Last year, the LEDC served 1,115 people and businesses, all at different levels of readiness, through their four core programs:
As the proud son of two immigrant parents, Jiménez has been involved in this work his entire life. “I owe everything to my parents,” he said. “I do what I feel is needed in my community to represent what my parents needed. Every client that comes in our doors reminds me of my dad and mother.”
Securian employees also had the opportunity to ask questions, join open discussions and learn how to support LEDC and the Latino community in Minnesota.
“Before you even think about supporting LEDC, support the clients we work with,” said Jiménez as he encouraged people to visit local predominantly Latino areas in the Twin Cities. “Be mindful of the way you’re spending your money. It’s important that we invest in these small businesses.”
Other great ways to support Latino-owned businesses and the LEDC include:
- Consider ordering form a local Latino business when you plan team meetings and outings. It’s a great way to introduce new flavors at work!
- Talk about Latino businesses with family and friends. Spreading the word is a low-cost and effortless way to give more visibility to Latino businesses.
- Visit LEDC and ask for a tour. You’ll be able to see and experience, in-person, how LEDC helps local businesses.
- Be a part of LEDC’s committees. The LEDC welcomes community volunteers and encourages them to use their expertise to help their mission.
As the conversations around Hispanic Heritage Month continue, find ways to support and celebrate the Latino community not just this month, but every month.
“I celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month every single day of my life,” said Jiménez. “I also celebrate Black History Month and all these other important celebrations every day because to me, the culture of Minnesota is really [bringing together] all our cultures as one.”
To learn more about LEDC, visit their website.