OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – There are more opportunities for hopeful entrepreneurs thanks to a new center focused on helping minority-owned businesses thrive in Utah.
The Suazo Business Center’s new Ogden City office is now officially open.
“We know exactly what it takes as somebody brand new to the country to get integrated into the community,” Suazo Business Center Executive Director Silvia Castro told ABC4 at a ribbon cutting for the new location Wednesday morning.
For nearly 20 years, the center has helped minority communities — specifically Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurs — establish and maintain more than 5,000 businesses like Ogden-based based shop Coffee Links Coffee House.
“They gave them some classes to get the basic knowledge of how to start a business, how to make the business grow, what kind of skills they need, what kind of skills they could use,” Maruicio Araujo explained. He is the son of the coffee shop’s owners. His parents started taking those classes in 2009. He was a child at the time but remembers participating in those classes and says they were interesting even for a kid.
Fast forward 12 years, and Coffee Links employs nearly two dozen people in Ogden. The success of his parents’ business brought Araujo back to Suazo Business Center. Today, those seeking help from the center will be greeted by Araujo at the front desk where he will help other families begin the same journey he did with his parents more than a decade ago.
In turn, the businesses, helped by the center, have contributed more than $250,000,000 to the Utah economy.
“The focus on minorities is because they’re a fast-growing demographic here in the state,” Castro stated. “If we don’t make any kinds of investments in ensuring that they don’t stay behind, it would actually affect the growth of the state.
Castro said for years, businesses in northern Utah have been looking to the center for help, so it only made sense to open a second location in Ogden.
For city leaders in attendance, like Ogden City Councilmember Luis Lopez, the opening of the center’s new office is the sign of positive growth for the area. He added: “Our city has a third of the population that are hispanic, and so it is in the best interest of our city that our community (Hispanic community in Ogden) progresses and that our community does better economically.”
The Suazo Business Center is working in partnership with Weber State University and Ogden City with the hopes of reaching out to more northern Utah businesses in need. The center is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. The new office is located at 2036 Lincoln Avenue STE 105, Ogden, UT 84401.
For more information about the center and the services it provides click here or call 801-521-1709.