Hispanic Chamber breaks ground on new entrepreneurship lab

Mayor Ivy Taylor, along with business leaders, broke ground on the new small business co-working space, The Foundry, at the Maestro Entrepreneur Center on April 13. (Photo, Nathaly Cruz)

By Nathaly Cruz

The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s small business incubator, the Maestro Entrepreneur Center, will soon launch a new space called The Foundry, an entrepreneurship lab.

Mayor Ivy Taylor, along with business leaders, celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony on April 13 at the Maestro Entrepreneur Center. Sponsored by Woodforest National Bank, the new small business co-working space will add 1,600 square feet of space where existing business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs and students will have the opportunity to create, test, launch, learn, work and enhance their business ideas and operations.

“Woodforest is proud to partner in this private-public value creation venture with the Maestro Entrepreneur Center and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,” said Doug Schaeffer, executive vice president and community reinvestment director, Woodforest National Bank.

Focused on the growth and development of small businesses in the community, The Foundry will motivate individuals to be creative, make connections and build entrepreneurial skills.

Julissa Carielo, founder of Maestro Entrepreneur Center, was also present during the event and explained how the center will help all small business owners.

“This is a really big deal. We are adding more training space, and we are adding a Foundry Lab that basically allows us to work together and collaborate together,” Carielo said.

The Maestro Center’s mission is to provide a home for small businesses in San Antonio to help them grow their annual sales beyond $1 million annually by providing effective business education workshops, access to capital, cost-effective office space and powerful access to key decision makers.

District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales congratulated the new partnership and the center’s mission to support new small business owners, especially women.

“The banks don’t always feel 100 percent confident when they do not see a man in the picture, and it is an unfortunate reality that we women in business still have to deal with,” she said. “So helping women get the finance that they need to grow their business is one of the weaknesses that we have and that we have to overcome.”

Gonzales sees the Maestro Center not only as an opportunity for small businesses owners, but also a resource center for all the women who want to start their own business. “Don’t be afraid to ask how other women have done it, and what other experiences they have,” she added.

The Maestro Center, launched last May, is unique for having “maestros,” of masters in their field, who provide one on one mentorship support and complement the services provided at the center.

For more information, please contact Martha Zurita, vice president of Small Business, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at (210) 225-0462 or via email at Marthaz@sahcc.org.

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