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Jennifer Lopez returns to the Bronx to meet with Latina entrepreneurs

Grameen America, which Lopez partnered with last year, has projected an unprecedented $1 billion in loan disbursements to Latina women this year.
Jennifer Lopez poses with latina entrepreneurs in The Bronx, New York, on Sept. 12, 2023.
Jennifer Lopez, center, poses with Latina entrepreneurs in the Bronx, N.Y., on Friday.Michael Simon / via Jennifer Lopez Grameen

Jenny returned to the block, to check in on Latina entrepreneurs. 

Jennifer Lopez visited with 20 Latina entrepreneurs in her hometown of the Bronx, New York, on Friday — one year after partnering with a charity to help bolster Latina businesses with loan capital.

Lissette Mims is one of the business owners who received loan capital from Grameen America, which partnered with the multi-hyphenate star to help accelerate its goal of deploying $14 billion in loan capital to 600,000 low-income Latina business owners in the country by 2030.

It was her dream to be an esthetician, and now, at 54, she is the owner of Bella Shique spa, where Lopez held her event Friday.

“I’ve worked my whole life and still have a passion. It doesn’t matter how old I am, my dream is worthy,” Mims said.

In a climate where Latino-owned businesses are less likely to receive loans from national banks than white-owned businesses, according to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative’s 2022 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report, this program is offering financing to women who live in poverty. According to Lopez’s team, Grameen America, which was founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus in 2008, has projected an unprecedented $1 billion in loan disbursements to Latina women this year alone. In addition to loans, women also receive training and education to help run their small businesses.

“It is a life-changing thing to not be able to fund your business or have an idea or a dream that you can’t build upon because you’re just lacking capital and you go to a bank and they won’t give it to you because you’re Latina, because they don’t think that’s something they should invest in,” Lopez told the women.

Among the women who turned out for the event and have been supported through the program were a woman who owns a florist and another who owns a tire shop. 

“When I saw some of the ladies there [on Friday], we were all saying how inspiring it is. Some of these women have three children and multiple jobs and they don’t know where they’d be without Jennifer,” Mims said. 

Lopez talked to them about their businesses and checked in on how things have been going since they received their business loans. She also shared personal stories about why she is inspired to give back.

“I know my grandmother would have loved to have her own shop, she was a seamstress, she made beautiful clothes. My mother was a Tupperware lady, in her own way she was running her own business,” Lopez continued. “If she could’ve had her own storefront or had enough money to do that, she never even thought that way. She didn’t even have the opportunity to think that way.”

Mims said that through Lopez’s mentorship she’s reminded “every day to push forward. I’ve always been hired and fired my whole life, and I’m so grateful for where I am today.”

Lopez wants the women to remember to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

“If you want to be successful, if you want to be extraordinary, all you have to do is not give up,” the star said.