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Poderosa Collective connects and supports Latina-owned small businesses in Milwaukee

Poderosa Collective
Patty Checa
Patty Checa
Poderosa Collective members organized an event this past July.

Latina-owned small businesses are growing steadily in the U.S., including here in Milwaukee. As these businesses have continued to grow, new organizations have formed to help them find support and community. Milwaukee is home to many of these organizations, but they can often seem to be in competition with one another — at odds with the kind of community that they seek to create.

In response, local organizations developed the Poderosa Collective, a group of organizations all representing Latina business owners like Patty Checa. She is an entrepreneur and the creator of the Latinas Connect Milwaukee networking group and is also a member of the Poderosa Collective.

During a meeting with Francesca Mayca Wegner, the executive director of the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, Checa expressed an interest in collaborating for an event. After exploring the idea, the concept of a larger scaled operation took shape, cultivating in the founding of the Poderosa Collective, which is made up by Latinas Connect Milwaukee, HPGM, MiVoz, Botanica Galactica, MujeronMovement and Mercadera. The participating groups, led by local Latinas, each run their own events in the community.

Originally stationed in Los Angeles, California, Checa desired to connect and collaborate with other Latina professionals after relocating to Milwaukee. Checa says, "I wanted to connect with the Latina community, and I also wanted to see where I can share my business with other Latina women. So, that's why I created a Latinas Connect Milwaukee networking group." The Poderosa Collective expounds on this desire and creates a deeper relationship and support system for small business owners within the community.

"It really helps us, like, within our own community, there has been so many women in the Latina community that have been inspired by our events and that have been afraid to start their business and by coming to our event—when they see other Latina entrepreneurs [and], other vendors, it inspires them," Checa says. "I feel that it's helped a lot of the local Latina women to really say, 'You know what, I can do that too.'"

The Poderosa Collective will host an annual event in 2023, but in the interim, it is working to connect Latina women by promoting individual groups' events throughout the year.


Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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