First Tucson Cohort To Graduate From Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program

Twelve business owners will be recognized at the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator graduation as the first graduating class from Tucson.

The Fuerza Local Business Accelerator, a program of Local First Arizona Foundation, is a six-month training program offered at no cost to underserved Hispanic business owners. During the program, entrepreneurs learn some of the fundamentals to launch or develop their business, creating a firm foundation for their goals. Lessons on accounting, social media, marketing, and many others are taught completely in Spanish by industry professionals and experts, giving students the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the Valley. 

We are thrilled to now have the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator serving businesses in South Tucson. We are incredibly impressed by the impact the business education is making in the Latino small business community. With increased access to capital and education about how to create a competitive and innovative small business, we are seeing more resilient successful businesses and small business owners who are clear leaders in the community.
— Mike Peel, Southern Arizona Director for Local First Arizona.

The program has grown since its launch in 2014, and is now graduating students in five communities across the state, now including Tucson. More than 260 business owners have already completed the program since its launch in 2014, and combined have generated more than $8.1 million in gross sales.

Local First Arizona Foundation has worked with Vib’n LLC and the YWCA Southern Arizona through funding from a Tohono O'odham grant to help bring the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator to Tucson.

We are honored and humbled to be part of the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator here in Tucson. For us at Vib’n, we focus on the mindset on a personal level, building up fundamental ideas for self-growth and motivation. Combined with the tools Fuerza provides, participants have the ideal formula to grow their businesses beyond what they thought was possible.
— Hector Treto, Co-Founder of Vib’n
The carefully planned curriculum offers more than just classes: it creates healthy habits, challenges individuals to look at their business in different perspectives, and helps them identify what their needs truly are, it brings together a unique network of like-minded people to share in their experiences and ultimately encourage one another’s ideas.
— Paul Mendoza, Vib’n Co-Founder with Treto.

The community is invited to celebrate the achievements of these entrepreneurs at a graduation celebration on Saturday, June 30, from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the YWCA Southern Arizona (525 N Bonita Ave, Tucson, AZ 85745). The event is free to attend and will include a business expo featuring the program graduates, networking opportunities, and the graduation ceremony.

Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program Students in Tucson, Arizona with Hector Treto and Paul Mendoza of  Vib'n.

Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program Students in Tucson, Arizona with Hector Treto and Paul Mendoza of  Vib'n.

The first Tucson Fuerza Local Business Accelerator cohort includes:

●      Ester Parra, cockteleria La Palma

●      Maria Salome, Arizona Hispanic Services LLC.

●      Aidee Almazan, Dolce Pastello

●      Irma Palomo de Garcia, Benny's Restuarant

●      Rosa & Ruben Lucatero, Carnitas La Yoca

●      Luz Cabrera, Empowering Financial Group

●      Luis Padilla, Luis Padilla Design

●      Liliana Byrd, Express Beauty Salon

●      Roberto Martinez, Bob Does I.T.

●      Laura Aviles, Super Carniceria del Rey

●      Ivis Montano, Rohi Nails & Spa

●      Gisela Felix, Patricia Padilla Photography

Applications for the second cohort of the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator are now open. Applicants can apply for the Tucson program at The application will close on August 17, 2018.


The Fuerza Local Business Accelerator is supported through funds from Pakis Center for Business Philanthropy, Maricopa County IDA, City of Phoenix, APS, Marisol Federal Credit Union, Arizona Community Foundation. Desert Financial Credit Union, Arizona State University Entrepreneurship and Innovation, SRP, Copperpoint, and Thunderbird Charities.