Spotlight: El Centro de la Raza’s Business Opportunity Center

50 Years of Latinx Services

As a hub of the Latino community in King County, El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races) provides 43 culturally and linguistically integrative programs and services including emergency and human services, child and youth programs, financial education, and asset-building programs, housing and economic development programs, community organizing, and advocacy programs.

Next year, it will be 50 years since El Centro de la Raza´s foundation, and this October 2nd it´ll kick off the 50th Anniversary Campaign at its virtual Building the Beloved Community Gala. In 2022 as a celebration, of this huge milestone, El Centro de La Raza will have a variety of community events and activities to honor our rich history, our present growth, and our exciting future. We hope our partners will join us in the celebration. Together with our community of program participants, staff, board members, volunteers, donors, and funders, we will set the stage for the next 50 years. Please visit our website for more information as it becomes available.

El Centro de la Raza’s Business Opportunity Center (BOC) is a key component of the organization's long-term vision for economic advancement in low-income communities and communities of color in Seattle and South King County. Through a variety of comprehensive, culturally competent, skill-building programs, the BOC is increasing economic development at the community level, while working to reduce poverty at the individual and household levels.

The Small Business Development Program

The BOC Small Business Development Program provides training and technical assistance for aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners as they develop and implement business plans to start or expand small businesses in King County. The program is comprised of an 8-week business development training course, one-on-one counseling, and access to affordable businesses resources including capital application guidance.  Currently, the Business Opportunity Center aims to assist small businesses to get access to resources intended for their recovery from the COVID-19 impact.

Success story from the Small Business Development program:

Francisca Pineda, owner of El Toreo Tienda y Carniceria is one of our participants in South King County, established in the city of Federal Way, assisted the information session facilitated for the Working Washington – Round 4. On May 10, she was approved for a $12,000 grant for her business from the Washington State Department of Commerce. This grant has helped her business stay afloat – as she is using the funds for business debts and operational costs.

“El Toreo Tienda y Carniceria gives thanks to El Centro de la Raza for their help with the application process. The funds were deposited in our business account and it helps us to pay for our business utilities and rent.”

Food Incubator Program

To help individuals obtain experience in the food industry, BOC also provides a Food Incubator Program where food entrepreneurs are able to rent a food cart and sell their products in the Roberto Maestas Plaza. The food vendors are provided with one on one business advice by the BOC´s staff, services include registration for a business, permit guidance, and business plan development.

Financial Empowerment

The Financial Empowerment Program builds individual and household capacity to improve credit, reduce debt, and increase savings. The program provides low-to-moderate-income individuals with group workshops, one-on-one financial skills counseling, and enrollment assistance in lending circles, to increase their knowledge of banking, savings, establishing and improving credit, sound money management practices, maintaining a household budget, and avoiding predatory lenders.

Lending Circles Program

The Lending Circles Program enables low- to moderate-income people to successfully build assets and increase economic stability. Through our partnership with Mission Asset Fund, the Lending Circles Program increases participants’ progress toward individual and household financial goals such as increasing savings, reducing debt, building credit, and accessing lending capital.

Unidos in Finance, Unidos at Work, WorkForce Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship Program

The BOC also works continuously to decrease the income wage gap by leading job readiness and training programs that provide financial and computer skills, technical training, internships, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities, and career pathway support. Through the programs Unidos in Finance, Unidos at Work, and the WorkForce Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship program, BOC has provided many with the skillsets to set them up for success.

Launch & Grow in Spanish

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Take El Centro de la Raza's Launch & Grow Your Business Course

Launch & Grow at El Centro is offered thanks to the WWBC's train-the-trainer program, providing the course and tools to community organizations for increased outreach and accessibility.

Launch & Grow in English

launch your business

Take Business Impact NW's Launch & Grow Course.

Launch & Grow is offered in-person, online and on-demand through the WA Women's Business Center at Business Impact NW.

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