The Hispanic Center for Economic Development’s Community Development efforts aim to support positive change and build stronger, more resilient local communities. The goal of our work is to drive economic and social advancement opportunities that help families achieve financial stability and economic mobility. This is approached on a hyper-local scale specific to La Villa Hispana community. La Villa Hispana is a place-making neighborhood initiative within the Clark-Fulton in Cleveland’s west side. Our efforts look to promote and foster the skills, entrepreneurship, and ownership required for equitable development of La Villa Hispana. Our work in Community Development is done in collaboration with Metro West Community Development Organization.
By fostering and showcasing the vibrancy and culture of the Villa Hispana neighborhood, the goal is to ensure economic mobility for residents and business owners as we address community need (access to food, workforce, place-making, cultural encounters, etc.) The efforts around community development include the following:
CentroVilla25 is an adaptive reuse of a vacant 32,500 square foot warehouse and office building with an additional 12,500 square foot expansion. The market will feature twenty kiosk-style micro-retail spaces, commercial kitchen, business innovation center and co-working space, office space for Latino and neighborhood-serving organizations, outdoor plaza with restaurant, and a community gathering space for arts & culture programming. CentroVilla25 will catalyze economic impact through job creation and business development, developing a thriving local living economy, and creative placemaking that celebrates Latino culture. Stay up to date on CentroVilla25 news!
La Villa Hispana (“La Villa”) embodies a long-cultivated collective vision for a vibrant, authentic and inclusive Latino cultural district in the heart of the Clark-Fulton neighborhood that will serve as both an anchor and a magnet. La Villa’s neighborhood boundaries extend westbound of West 25th Street through West 44th and south of I-90 up to I-71. La Villa is a place the Hispanic and Latino culture is celebrated for its unique contributions to the blended heritage of Greater Cleveland. La Villa will recreate that atmosphere that many Latinos embrace on a day to day basis in their own countries. Through arts, music, education, entrepreneurship, and social and civic events, La Villa will tell our individual and collective stories, including and culminating in the blended heritage that is Cleveland. Check out all La Villa Hispana has to offer!
The purpose of the Villa Hispana ’s Merchants Group is to recognize and leverage the current businesses located throughout the neighborhood. Most of these businesses have been deeply rooted in the neighborhood, serving the predominantly Hispanic community that live, work and play in the area. While these businesses have experienced some success, they are plagued with challenges such as safety, neighborhood cleanliness, and panhandling. In addition, the businesses struggle with attracting new customers due to a negative perception or stigma of the neighborhood. As neighborhood improvements occur, the merchants will experience growth and stability for their businesses.
In 2017, the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development announced an initiative to start, build and grow and incubate hyper-local, resident-owned businesses in the heart of the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. It served as an exciting opportunity for the community to build on the momentum of the revitalization and stabilization of the W 25th and Clark Ave retail corridor.
Entrepreneurs participated in a 4-week retail business training program where they had developed their business model and business plan in both 1-on-1 advising and group-based sessions. At the end of the training, the entrepreneurs pitched their businesses before a panel of judges and 4 businesses were accepted into the business incubator and received funding for startup/growth capital. The goal of the Las Tienditas pilot program was to create and grow businesses by providing them with the necessary support, resources and technical services needed to be successful. Las Tienditas is a very successful pilot that will be replicated for El Mercado within CentroVilla25. Follow Las Tienditas on Facebook!
La Placita (the marketplace) is a celebration at the intersection of culture and commerce. The event is dedicated to fostering Cleveland’s rich Latino culture and promoting economic development in La Villa Hispana, a placemaking initiative within the Clark-Fulton neighborhood focused around the intersection of Clark Avenue and West 25th. A tool for authentic community development, La Placita paves the way for local minority entrepreneurs and artists to showcase their products and talents. This year’s events are especially important, as many of the participating entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to transition their businesses into a permanent space within El Mercado, a micro-retail business incubator projected to open in La Villa Hispana in 2022. Follow along for 2022 updates!
In partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Hispanic Business Center is supporting art entrepreneurs with business training, advising and project funding.
This initiative is an opportunity to support projects that create engaging public works of art that celebrate La Villa Hispana’s vibrancy and rich cultural diversity. In 2019 seven individual artists were selected to receive artist grants to create, install, and display their artistic visions during the summer months and early fall of 2019. Visit our directory!
In partnership with the Hebrew Free Loan Association (HFLA) and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, the Hispanic Business Center has created a Lending Circle Program that combines training and advising giving participants the opportunity to increase their credit score while providing access to affordable capital. The F.I.T program engages 10 participants that make ten consecutive monthly contributions of $105 (one hundred and five dollar) during a 10 months period. During the program individual participants are allowed a one-time withdrawal equal to $1,000.
The program allows you to understand your relationship with money, giving you the chance to build your personal finances. After completion, individual credit scores can rise above 100 points.