Culturally empowered: Testimonials from Wichita’s Spanish speaking north end

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Valle, Alondra
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Background: Despite the growing population of Latinos in the United States, access to culturally responsive non-profit services remains a challenge (Migration Policy Institute, 2022; Kim et al., 2021; Joassart-Marcelli 2013). Latino entrepreneurs, in particular, face barriers such as language, cultural differences, and lack of formal business registration, hindering access to essential resources and support (Orozco, 2020; Pisani, 2022). This study addresses these challenges, focusing on the provision of culturally responsive services provided by Empower Evergreen a local non-profit organization, and the experiences of Latino entrepreneurs in Wichita's North End. The current study gathers the testimonials of Spanish-speaking small business owners in the North End and the impact of Empower’s services on the community. Method: A qualitative study design was conducted. Four one-on-one interviews, lasting 15 to 30 minutes each and in Spanish. Participants were briefed on audio recording and provided with a consent form outlining the interview's purpose. Interviews covered demographic information, experiences with Empower, and improvement suggestions. Recruitment, facilitated by Empower Evergreen, targeted Spanish-speaking individuals aged 18 and above using Empower's services for their small businesses. Participants ranged in age from 28 to 55. Thematic analysis was guided by Braun and Clarke's (2016, 2022) framework to identify key themes and patterns transcribed and translated from interviews. Results: The findings indicated that, overall, participants found the services provided by Empower were culturally responsive. Participants were asked about whether they felt the services they received were related to their cultural values, and responded unanimously. Participants reported feeling: Respected, Supported and Welcomed by Empower. Participants did have suggestions, but overall were extremely satisfied. Conclusion and Implications: There was unanimous affirmation from participants regarding the alignment of Empower with participant cultural values. Small business owners felt respected, welcomed, and supported by Empower Evergreen’s services. However, other areas of the organization should be evaluated to find similar results. The information from this study suggests that similar organizations could benefit from adopting Empower's approach of employing staff who are Spanish speakers and respect the culture and language of those they serve. Further research should explore specific strategies used by nonprofit services in this sphere.

Presented to the 23rd Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum (URCAF) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 12, 2024.
Valle, Alondra. 2024. Culturally empowered: Testimonials from Wichita’s Spanish speaking north end. -- In Proceedings: 23rd Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 30.
Wichita State University
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