The Latino Economic Development Center emerged out of a small group of immigrants who formed a Latino congregation in 1994: Sagrado Corazón de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus) in South Minneapolis. The new congregation immediately took on a social justice as well as a spiritual dimension. Recent Mexican immigrants worked in teams on educational, legal, and economic issues, and overcame many barriers to reach their goals. Over time, they realized that economic progress was imperative to strengthen the Latino community. LEDCwas incorporated in 2003 with assistance from several local business development organizations. With the help of those organizations, LEDC worked to improve technical and leadership skills, which led to a project that is now the Cooperative Mercado Central, Plaza Latina and Global Market.
LEDC’s CORE FUNCTIONS
- To establish, stabilize, and expand businesses through orientations, classes, development consulting, technical assistance, and access to capital for new and existing entrepreneurs.
- To revitalize or develop community “public markets” and commercial corridors in the Twin Cities and rural Minnesota that allow for Latino businesses to fully participate in the business community.
- To create a process and structure with which the Latino business community may access other institutions (such as banks, foundations, and elected officials).
- To create a membership base that actively shapes the agenda of LEDC.
- Promote just, sustainable and ethical business practices, healthy work environments, social responsibility, and economic justice.
- Develop Latino talent, leadership, civic engagement and political influence.
- Affirm and reflect the strengths of Latino culture and language.
- Nurture free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit of our community.
- Listen to and act in the best interests of our membership; contribute our wisdom and experience for the wellbeing of all members.