YWCA, councilmember help aspiring businesswomen in Tucson

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A lunch and information session held in the west side on Thursday wants to make women in Tucson know they can succeed in business.

Dozens of people gathered at the YWCA today to learn about how they could open up their own business.

As one fearless entrepreneur explains, it is not as daunting as it seems.

"I'm not going to lie, it's been hard sometimes but effort pays off," Gloria Badilla said.

Badilla is an office manager at the YWCA on Bonita Avenue. But Badilla is also a self-made businesswoman, who launched a food business in Tucson.

Badilla talked about her efforts before a roomful of aspiring women entrepreneurs, and how an idea can grow into a successful business.

"We said, well everybody usually wants our salsa, let's start selling it," Badilla said.

Two years ago, Badilla starting packaging fresh chiltepin salsa made from a recipe passed down from her husband's grandmother.

"The pepper that we use, and 'tipica,' in Spanish, it means to get hooked on something," Badilla said.

She knew she was hooked in the business when the salsa took off. Buyers can find it at La Estrella bakery at Mercado San Agustin.

Just next door is the kitchen where Badilla makes the salsa by hand every Friday and pretty soon, you'll see it on shelves at Costco.

Badilla is not alone in her goals. More minority women, especially Latinas, are owning small businesses.

It's exactly why today's information luncheon brought in bilingual speakers.

"We do have services that they might be interested in, and that it's really not overwhelming, that they can call my office and I will point them in the right direction, whether it's with the city of Tucson, or with Pima County or with other

organization in our community," Tucson Ward 1 city councilmember Regina Romero said.

The Women's Business Center at the YWCA connects women with counseling, classes, and non-profit lenders designed to help local small businesses.

Badilla's own Spanish-speaking skills helps with communication, but it's more gratifying than just that.

"Being able to connect with them. Being an immigrant in this country and having you know, basically the American dream come true. So my salsa, I think you can taste my dream on our salsa chiltepica," Badilla said.

More information on business-starting resources can be found here:

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