Seeing a lack of transportation and delivery options in their Wimauma neighborhood, three local women have decided to do something about it by launching their own transportation company. They are starting small and looking for three golf carts, but if all goes well, the three working-class women hope to see the business grow.
Irma Ornelas, Reyna Barrigan and Rosa Noriega christened their company El Aventon, a Spanish term meaning risk-taker and moving forward.
“These women are powerful, risk-takers and that is why they chose that name for their company,” said Liz Gutierrez, founder/CEO of Enterprising Latinas, a nonprofit group helping women build their own businesses and building networks to achieve that goal. “It’s a small micro business that we are helping them start up.”
Enterprising Latinas helped the trio put together a business plan for El Aventon. That business plan took first place in a small-business contest organized by the Tampa-based Center for Women in May, earning the women $1,000 that they used as seed money for officially incorporating the business and opening a business account. They will need around $20,000 to properly capitalize the business.
The golf carts will serve as a transport and delivery service throughout Wimauma. The dearth of transportation options especially “can cause a real problem for people just getting to work, getting to pay a bill or just getting to a doctor. You have people paying exorbitant amounts just to be able to get around,” said Gutierrez, who has worked for three decades with nonprofit groups.
“These are three very humble women who come from humble beginnings but are very entrepreneurial, who believe they can be part of the solution to this problem,” said Gutierrez. “We know it will take a bigger investment to solve the problem but they believe in making a start.”
According to Gutierrez, El Aventon plans to petition in order to get the requisite permissions to operate on public roadways in Wimauma. Eventually, the business plan calls for the use of cars and passenger vans, as the business (and capital) grows.
Prior to launching Enterprising Latinas Inc., Gutierrez led the transformation of the Hispanic Services Council from a social-service agency to a community development and advocacy organization.
“Although Latinas remain positive about their economic future, the reality is that for many low-income Latinas, the economic outlook is bleak,” according to Enterprising Latinas. “Key factors are in the way of their economic prosperity; low educational attainment, a state economy that relies on low-wage jobs and racial and gender inequality. We are committed to ensuring that women get the information, tools and resources they need to become contributors to and beneficiaries of a healthy community and thriving economy.”
Enterprising Latinas holds a meeting for local women who are interested in starting their own business on the second and last Thursdays of the month at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, 16650 U.S. 301 S., Wimauma.
For more information call 813-325-8073 or email Liz Gutierrez at email@example.com. The group’s website is www.enterprisinglatinas.org. The meeting is open to all Wimauma women who want to “find a path together for transforming opportunities into realities,” according to a flier for the organization.
About Enterprising Latinas:
Mission: To create pathways of opportunity for Latinas in Tampa Bay. We all have the potential to contribute. But for many women, believing in themselves comes with its challenges. Empowering women starts with helping them find their own power and strength. We can change the downward spiral of poverty among the working poor by helping Florida’s growing Latina population increase [their] earning and buying potential. We can harness Latinas’ talents, cultural heritage and entrepreneurial spirit through our networks of mutual support, to drive her own pathway to economic prosperity …”
Board of Directors
Lucy Stewart, Board Chair
Founder, president/CEO of Aguilas International Technical Institute and of Better at Home home-health agency.
Wanda Sloan, Vice Chair
Sloan is an urban planner with vast experience in Hillsborough County.
Janet Beirman, Treasurer
Beirman served more than 25 years as an accounting support staff to the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.
Maria Jimenez, Secretary
Certified community health navigator and community health advocate.
Ileana Cintrón, Director
Pursuing a second master’s degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Karen Landry, Director
Landry is president/executive director of the War on Poverty Florida Inc.
Joan Osa Oviawe, Director
Joan Osa Oviawe is a policy and development specialist.