Nine local Latino-owned businesses to receive grant money

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Latino Economic Development Corporation is kicking off 2023 with a new round of grants for businesses in Hampden County. Nine Latino-owned enterprises will receive between $1,000 to $3,000.

The group presented funding to five businesses in Springfield and Monday they will add two more in Holyoke. On Friday in Chicopee, they met for a roundtable discussion with local representatives and the owner of Faded Barber Lounge who is receiving $2,500, part of a total award for all nine recipients of more than $17,000.

22News spoke with two of those award recipients and they said they are thankful for the money that will go towards their businesses.

“It’s amazing, I can’t believe that they would choose specifically me. I’m really grateful of the help I’ve been getting and believing in my idea for the community,” said Gustavo Agudelo of Agudelo Farm and Apiary in Holyoke.

“It really feels absolutely wonderful. You know, Holyoke has been able to support me in so many ways, they have so many different resources,” said Erika Matos of Top-flight Nutrition.

“The Latino Economic Development is the state’s economic development. The public schools is at least 50 percent in every district of Chicopee, Holyoke and Springfield. So when we think about supporting a Black owned business, a Latino or woman owned business, just remember you are supporting your local economy,” said Andrew Melendez, Director of the Latino Economic Development Corporation.

Melendez told 22News that Latino-owned businesses are growing 165-percent faster than other businesses locally but on average, those business owners invest around 85-percent of their personal wealth, making these grants all the more meaningful.