MIAMI, FL – April 24, 2018 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – Unseating Silicon Valley, Austin became the No. 1 U.S. city for startups last year (Kauffman Index). But, anyone working in the startup world knows that women are not well represented in technical or founder roles – and women of color, it’s even slimmer.

Latinitas’ Whole Chica Leadership Incubator equips high school women to personally and economically succeed through a 12-week training program delivered by community leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation. This month the United Way of Austin is sponsoring a 3-week long Click for the Cause Campaign and Latinitas is 1 of 5 finalists in the running for $50,000 in funding to support Austin’s first youth of color entrepreneurs program. Voters can vote everyday and if they share after, finalists get 3X the votes.

Latinitas is dedicated to empowering girls to innovate using media and technology, providing direct digital media and technology training and esteem-boosting services to nearly 3,000 girls and teens across Texas annually, 2,000 in Central and 1,000 more in West Texas. Latinitas has served over 25,000 girls and teens through after-school clubs, weekend workshops, teen internships, camps and conferences at 112 Texas schools, libraries, community and cultural centers, and public housing sites. Latinitas also publishes the first and only magazine of its kind: made for and by young Latinas.

Knowing that becoming a female entrepreneur of color takes more than business plan handouts, Whole Chica is designed to include mindfulness, empathy, financial literacy, public speaking, community service, trade/vocational skills and leadership acumen. The program begins at a weekend retreat to bond and discover strengths, personality traits, goals and challenges. Sessions are weekly for 3 hours, one hour is focused on developing personal skills, another for professional skills and the remaining hour on entrepreneurship delivered by balanced community minded business leaders. Sessions will introduce mindful practices such as journaling, meditating and thinking critically. Following weeks 3, 6 and 9 there will be a weekend project designed to provide an opportunity to lead some type of community impact. There will be a final presentation to the community at a public event to showcase their experience and developments. Young latinas and women in general have ideas yet to be delivered to development, political and community table – Whole Chica will be about effectively diversifying Austin’s pipeline of business and social entrepreneurs and infuse the city’s economic landscape with new, underheard voices.

“Many teen Latinas are natural entrepreneurs. Their parents are often role models working outside traditional pathways to secure a livelihood.” said Laura Donnelly, Latinitas founder and CEO, “we just want to round out the nuanced skills necessary to be an entrepreneur from network to public speaking – in a holistic way.”