As we wrap up our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re proud to feature our newest team member Francisco Cartagena, MWBC’s Program Manager for our Bowie State University Women’s Business Center (BSU WBC). Recognized for his contributions to community development and empowerment, we’re thrilled he’s joined MWBC. His experience, accomplishments, and dedication are valuable additions to our organization. Here’s part of his story:
I am deeply rooted in my El Salvadoran heritage, which has instilled in me values of resilience, perseverance, and community. Arriving in the U.S. from El Salvador as a preteen, I, alongside many others, traversed the path of an immigrant, confronting myriad challenges yet finding opportunities at each turn. One of my pivotal experiences was advocating for the Maryland Dream Act with the Latino Student Union. This act provided undocumented high school students, like myself, the chance to access in-state college tuition. This advocacy journey deepened my appreciation for collective activism and introduced me to the transformative power of political science. My journey in the educational realm, characterized by the pursuit of my associate’s degree over a decade, embodies the perseverance and tenacity inherited from my cultural roots. El Salvadoran traditions underscore the strength of community and the importance of hard work—values that have continuously guided me.
My involvement with MWBC offers a platform to apply the lessons from my personal journey to make a broader impact. I view minority-owned businesses not merely as economic ventures but as dreams realized through determination and ambition. The resilience I’ve observed in my family and reflected upon from my journey as an undocumented student equips me with a unique understanding of the challenges many minority entrepreneurs face. These narratives mirror the struggles and triumphs of the very entrepreneurs we assist at MWBC. The dedication to aiding women entrepreneurs, especially from minority backgrounds, resonates deeply with my own story. Every challenge they face, every barrier they overcome, reminds me of the indomitable spirit within every determined individual. At MWBC, we aren’t just championing businesses; we’re fostering dreams, aspirations, and unwavering determination.