Fierce

‘We Just Haven’t Had The Opportunities’: J.Lo Promises $14 Billion In Loans To Latina Entrepreneurs

Jennifer Lopez, 53, is teaming up with nonprofit microfinance organization Grameen America to grant a whopping $14 billion in loans to 600,000 Latina entrepreneurs

In an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine, Lopez announced the money will be fully allocated by 2030, with the partnership also offering Latinas 6 million hours in financial training— a form of mentorship for women looking to learn about literacy around money.

The jefa of all jefas gave more details about what inspired the partnership with Grameen, remembering her own story of growing up in the Bronx and seeing her parents work arduous night shifts.

“My dad worked all night — you know, night shift… And my mom worked all day,” she said. “It was always this grind to get ahead. It very much shaped me into a person who felt like I had to work hard all the time. Which I think became a theme in my life.”

With hundreds of acting, producing, and composing credits to her name, eight albums and countless massively popular singles, her Las Vegas residency, Superbowl performance, and her expansive product lines, Lopez is undoubtedly a hard worker— and arguably one of the most influential people in the world. 

Still, she describes starting her career as a person “just so happy to be here,” simply feeling grateful for the opportunities presented to her— but sometimes struggling to put her foot down. Why? As per Lopez, it might be a cultural pattern. “I was just lucky to have whatever I had. I think there’s a little bit of ‘be grateful’ in our culture. Be grateful for what you have instead of striving for more,” she explained. 

While Lopez fully believes us Latinos “haven’t had the opportunities that other people have had in this country,” there’s no doubt her initiative is looking to change that— coupled with the new generation which is “coming into [their] own right now” and “starting to believe.” 

So how to get a piece of the $14 billion pie and score a loan for your business? According to Grameen America’s website, their max first-time loan rounds out at $2,000, with “good-standing members” gaining the opportunity for more money after six months. 

One detail that will no doubt contribute to authentic change? You do not need a credit score, collateral, or business income to qualify for a loan under this program.

So what are the requirements? You must live within 15 miles of one of their 21 branch locations, which are listed on their website. Once that’s covered, you need to form a group alongside four other women entrepreneurs in your community, and take part in a week-long training program. If you secured a loan through the initiative, you also need to attend 30-minute meetings once a week and repay your loan on a weekly basis within six months.

Lopez explained to Entrepreneur that once that’s done, it’s also about us Latinas working to change our inner narrative and believe in ourselves. “Once you realize that you are the person with the ideas and the talent and the drive to do it — then it’s about valuing yourself… You’ve got to say, ‘Wait a minute. You’re fortunate to invest in what I’m doing here,” she said. 

Harkening back to a time when her family mostly thought about “having to pay the bills” after moving to New York from Puerto Rico, the initiative no doubt holds a special place in Lopez’s heart. The singer and actress told Good Morning America she hopes to “change the fabric of America” and explained that Latinas are “just tough,” naturally “inventive,” “creative,” and full of “love, tradition, and culture.” 

The Bronx-born triple-threat’s exciting new partnership comes after announcing her own philanthropic organization Limitless Labs, exclusively focused on supporting Latinas in business. 

Partnering with big players like Goldman Sachs to make sure Latinas in this country are given as many opportunities as possible to succeed, Limitless Labs is inspired by Lopez’s song “Limitless.” Aptly enough, the track includes lyrics like, “I am a woman who roars, nobody opened my doors/ I am a woman saying I want more, so give me what I’m asking for.” Yas.

With an entrepreneurial spirit in our blood, there’s no doubt this partnership will push Latina growth in this country even further.

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