Nonprofit looks to increase Spanish-speaking business owners in South Omaha

The Midlands Latino Community Development Center aims to help Latino businesses get off the ground with stability.
An Omaha nonprofit is helping ensure Spanish-speaking business owners are able to get their ventures off the ground.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 4:15 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - What once was a vision is now a reality. Maria Elena-Castro now calls herself the new director of her daycare center, Educando Childcare. However, she couldn’t have done this without the Midlands Latino Community Development Corporation.

“When I started in MLCDC I didn’t speak any English,” Castro said.

MLCDC is a nonprofit that helps Latinos who are immigrants, low-income, and non-English speakers to start-up businesses and become financially stable.

“We focus on three pillars which are financial stability, entrepreneurship, and lending to have an economic development in the community,” said executive director Juan Montoya.

Castro joined to help people in the community, but also to learn skills that would set her up for her future. She took several English classes and learned how to start a business.

Many years later, she wanted to start her childcare center. Her purpose was to tackle a growing issue -- the need for Spanish-speaking daycares across South Omaha.

“I discover that many women in our community have the need to start a childcare business because of the families that are incrementing and they have a need to take care of their children,” Castro said.

ARPA funds and a loan from MLCDC are what helped make her dream possible. Montoya said they train Spanish-speaking Latinas like Castro to develop entrepreneurial skills.

“They can address some of the issues they face when they have a small business and sometimes don’t know how to deal with that,” Montoya said.

This is known as the Women’s Entrepreneur program that was started in 2020. Overall, Montoya said having more business owners that speak Spanish helps break language barriers that prevent them from connecting with the Latino community here in the metro.

“So, in this way having a childcare that mostly speaks Spanish, it gives you the opportunity to keep that culture,” Montoya said.

The center will open in April and be equipped with several learning programs and rooms for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.