BOISE — The Idaho Hispanic Foundation will reopen the Idaho Women’s Business Center, thanks to a national grant and behind-the-scenes work from a U.S. senator.
The foundation received a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to establish the business development organization, which will provide resources, education and services to female entrepreneurs and small business owners across the state. The center will have locations in the Treasure Valley and in the Magic Valley and will be directed by the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the University of Idaho.
According to a press release from his office, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, requested the Small Business Administration approve the new center, and he’s been working on the effort for over a year.
Diane Bevan, the president and CEO of the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, will serve as the executive director of the center. Bevan told the Idaho Press she will remain at the helm of the Hispanic chamber but will be hiring a bilingual director to handle daily chamber business.
“The mission of the Idaho WBC is to serve all women, cultures and communities in achieving their educational, professional and entrepreneurial goals,” Bevan said in a press release. “This is an exciting time to be part of such an important work as Idaho continues to thrive, and we thank Senator Risch for all his work to bring a center to Idaho to serve women entrepreneurs in the Treasure and Magic Valleys.”
The business center will also hire a program director and program manager based in the Treasure Valley, as well as a program manager for the Magic Valley. Locations will be announced in the coming days, Bevan said, and a ribbon cutting featuring Risch and other leaders is scheduled for July 19.
Although the center will not focus solely on Hispanic women in Idaho, Bevan said the center will focus on assisting women from under-served minority groups in rural areas get the business assistance they need.
“Women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, and Latinas are the fastest-growing segment of that,” Bevan told the Idaho Press. “We may see more diversity in the women’s organizations that we connect with. That will be the ripple effect of having the Idaho Hispanic Foundation oversee the Idaho Women’s Business Center.”