(L to R): Bucky Johnson, mayor, City of Norcross; Maria Peck, director of Hispanic Strategies and Lending, ACE; Lynette Howard, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, District 2; Grace Fricks, president and CEO, ACE; and Luis Izaguirre, chief programs officer, ACE.
Last month, ACE kicked off its new Hispanic Strategy in a festive ceremony at the Norcross Cultural Arts & Community Center. The initiative will provide Hispanic-owned businesses with better access to capital and other resources.
“Our Hispanic Strategy has been modeled after ACE’s recent successes with the African-American community in Atlanta,” says Luis Izaguirre, ACE’s chief program officer. “We look forward to making a difference in the lives of Hispanic business owners in Gwinnett County, initially, and then throughout Georgia.”
Commissioner Lynette Howard and Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson were on hand to welcome ACE in this event sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase. Sandra Font, ACE’s Women’s Business Center director, who is Hispanic, organized the gathering, which was catered by Fronterra. ACE client Chef Pablo Colon also provided delicious pastries.
Izaguirre will lead the Hispanic Strategy, while Maria “Mayte” Peck, ACE Director of Hispanic Strategies and Lending, will focus on providing access to commercial loans of $50,000 and greater.
“We will be visible in the community, where we will nurture existing relationships to provide business advisory services,” Peck says. “I will be meeting with business owners, giving presentations and collaborating with other organizations.”
Recent statistics from the U.S. Census show that Gwinnett County is home to 17,000 businesses with 10 or fewer employees, which accounts for approximately 75 percent of all businesses in the county. Currently, more than 70 percent of ACE’s loan dollars go to minority business owners working in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia.