Small businesses in the City of Tucson can now connect with a team of professional small business navigators, dedicated to supporting them start, grow, and expand. The team of multicultural and bilingual individuals will provide one-on-one assistance, create workshops, classes, and resource connections with an emphasis on small business and entrepreneurship development. The new team is called Conectate Tucson, welcoming Spanish speaker entrepreneurs and business owners.
City of Tucson Economic Initiatives Director Barbra Coffee said she is thrilled to welcome Francisca Villegas and Narda Flores to the team.
“They will greatly enhance services to our business community and give Spanish-speaking and minority business owners improved access to resources and information,” she said.
Francisca Villegas was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. She recently joined the Economic Initiatives division with the City of Tucson as a program manager. She has resided in Tucson for many years and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. She is a registered mortgage loan originator and lender and has an extensive background in microlending.Villegas is also a certified business coach, having taught and empowered numerous local business owners and those aspiring to be. She has been working extensively with small businesses, specifically supporting underrepresented and minority groups and legacy businesses. In her spare time, she likes practicing kickboxing and visiting local vineyards.Villegas is thrilled to join the City of Tucson to support a program that intends to address the lack of services for small business owners that are underrepresented, legacy businesses, and minority groups by covering areas such as access to capital, financial health, and business leadership education. Additionally, the program’s approach is to aid with business relief and recovery services from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Narda Flores is an innovative young professional dedicated to supporting small businesses grow. She holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice Studies and an M.P.A. from the University of Arizona. In addition, she completed a Spanish language program at the Franklin Institute in Spain, allowing her to provide support in Spanish and English. Flores received recognition for her contributions to a resiliency project for the municipality of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico where she worked in collaboration with INCIDE, Technologico de Monterrey, and the University of Arizona.Before working with the City of Tucson, she performed the role of program manager, assisting small business owners at the Women’s Business Center. She developed relationships with community partners to provide technical assistance and one-on-one coaching to create SMART goals for business owners and entrepreneurs.
Additionally, Flores obtained hands-on experience during her time working as an assistant to the accounting manager at Galaz Enterprises Inc, a food-based Tucson business. During her time there, she learned inside business management, recognizing areas of opportunity for growth. Flores is constantly exploring opportunities to learn new skills and loves cooking and baking.The team brings in the knowledge, connections, and the understanding of the needs of the community, from their previous roles at the Women’s Business Center. Under their leadership, they received recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration and were instrumental on the deployment of $8 million in grants for Tucson’s small businesses.
About the Office of Economic Initiatives:
The City of Tucson Office of Economic Initiatives coordinates the City’s economic development programs for the purpose of attracting jobs and investment to the City of Tucson. It also offers local small business and entrepreneurial assistance and encourages workforce development in order to foster a long term sustainable and diverse local economy. For more information or to contact the Office of Economic Initiatives, visit ConnectTucson.com.