Enterprising Latinas lifts up female entrepreneurs

Work never ends for the founder of an organization that helps women in Hillsborough County become successful entrepreneurs.

Enterprising Latinas founder Liz Gutierrez started the organization five years ago to help women in the Wimauma community have a positive economic future.

"Every time you think, 'Oh, OK, I'm going to have a moment to breathe, there's at least five new opportunities that we have to move on," she explained. "We believe when women do well, their children do better, the community does better, too." 

The program teaches skills to students so they can become entrepreneurs. After taking one of the classes, Brenda Rodrigez decided to open up a dessert shop.

"Being with a group of women, they encourage me to go for it," said Brenda. "They push me to believe in myself, to believe that I can do more, that I can go for things that I want to go for, my dreams."

Gutierrez's hard work is being rewarded. She received a $200,000 grant from the Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Program.

She said the funds will help her expand the program to include weekend, daytime, and evening classes.

Jennifer Boyd took the program's construction course earlier this year.

"I'm hoping to start my own business to employ women. I would like to start a small construction company and a transporation company," Boyd said.

Gutierrez said she is thankful her small dream is turning into a big success.

"So many things happen when you are grateful and, I have to say, that's been my experience. Be grateful, great things happen," she said.

In five short years, Gutierrez and her team have helped hundreds of women discover economic success.