Saturday Buford Highway Christmas market to feature Latina entrepreneurs

Graduates from the Latin American Association's Latina entrepreneurship program, Avanzando Juntas, show off some of the merchandise they will be selling at a Christmas market on Dec. 4. The market will feature more than 60 Latina vendors.
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Graduates from the Latin American Association's Latina entrepreneurship program, Avanzando Juntas, show off some of the merchandise they will be selling at a Christmas market on Dec. 4. The market will feature more than 60 Latina vendors.

Credit: Submitted by: Gina Espinosa

The Latin American Association is kicking off the holiday season by supporting Latina entrepreneurs with their inaugural Christmas market.

More than 60 women who’ve graduated from Avanzando Juntas, the organization’s eight-week Latina entrepreneurship program, will sell their products and services at the market. These items range from handmade jewelry to homemade desserts.

“We’re so excited,” said Mabel del Valle, Latina entrepreneurship program manager at the Latin American Association. “It’s going to be a great day to start the Christmas season officially, and this is a great time to support Latina entrepreneurship.”

Avanzando Juntas — which means moving together — teaches Latinas women business skills such as how to register their business with the state, developing a business plan and marketing strategies. Del Valle said many of the women enrolled in the program started their businesses because of the financial strains the pandemic placed on their families.

“It’s a very full and complete business program,” del Valle said. “We graduate about 160 women every year through these courses. And it’s great because they can start their businesses. Many of them have an idea, but they don’t know how to start it.”

Sindy Leon founded a jewelry business called, Ariss Jewerly, and works with jewelers in her native Colombia to create unique items made of silver and natural stones. She said enrolling in the Avanzando Juntas program helped her better navigate the business world.

“It’s a bit challenging. You’re in another country, you don’t know the people, you don’t know the different processes. But the good thing is, you can find many people who will support you,” Leon said. “In the end of the day, I just feel so proud.”

Although this is the first year the market will take place, del Valle said they’re already planning on making it an annual event, and “we have a date for next year already.”

Entry to the Christmas market is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday Dec. 4 at the Latin American Association Atlanta Outreach Center, 2750 Buford Highway.

Paradise Afshar is a Report for America corps member covering metro Atlanta’s immigrant communities.

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