On November 19th, Opportunity Fund joined the Wurwand Foundation and the office of the Mayor of Los Angeles at City Hall to celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. More than 1,000 women entrepreneurs came to witness the exciting launch of FOUND/LA with us. Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate women entrepreneurs in Los Angeles!
Women's Entrepreneurship Day is a celebration of women in business, who lead the world towards economic equality and inspire us all. Naturally, a day near and dear to our hearts at Opportunity Fund. It was great to mark the occasion with so many vibrant women business owners in attendance, with leadership from Mayor Garcetti’s team, and with our dear partners at the Wurwand Foundation. It was also an incredible honor to receive new support from the Wurwand Foundation as they launched FOUND/LA!
FOUND/LA is a new initiative, spearheaded by the Wurwand Foundation. The initiative includes funding, educational workshops, mentorship opportunities and a community of other local entrepreneurs. We have partnered with the Wurwand Foundation to support women expand their small businesses, driving millions of dollars in economic activity and supporting jobs for the local L.A. community. We are excited to play an important role, together, to change the funding landscape and making dreams come true.
“Female entrepreneurs are starting businesses three times faster than men, yet they only receive 4 percent of the total credit banks lend out. That has to change,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO of Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit microfinance organization. “Opportunity Fund was born to invest in those business owners who, too often, hear ‘No’ when they seek funding. We are in the business of saying ‘Yes’ and are actively seeking more women to fund. With support from FOUND/LA, we can get more dollars into the hands of entrepreneurial women driving economic mobility and creating opportunity in our communities.”
We were all inspired by listening to Jane Wurwand (photo above), Sonya Blake from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, and others talk about how important this initiative is for the economic equality of women in L.A. and will serve as blueprint for others to follow around the country. Read more in our press release.
The event also highlighted Opportunity Funded entrepreneurs like Lia Hirtz (photo above), owner of World Empanadas in Burbank. Hirtz started her business selling empanadas out of a small space in the back of a liquor store. Having the grit and work ethic of a true entrepreneur, coupled with a loan from Opportunity Fund, Lia was able to outgrow the liquor store and move into a space more than twice the size. The Jimmy Kimmel staff love her empanadas, and her business now brings in over $1 million in revenue annually.
The ceremony at City Hall was followed by a resource fair on the South Lawn, where entrepreneurs were able to connect with services to help their businesses grow. There were about 60 organizations in attendance, providing everything from information on access to capital, marketing, mentorship, and business development opportunities, all free of charge.
The morning was brimming with high hopes for a brighter future as hundreds of women encouraged and connected with each other. Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate these amazing women entrepreneurs and the launch of FOUND/LA.
Check out even more photos on our Facebook page!