[caption id="attachment_228524" align="alignnone" width="1024"] La Plaza Executive Director Mary Dupont. | PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING[/caption]
Delaware Business Times highlights an annual list of individuals as "People to Watch" in the new year as we believe they will leave a mark on their industries or communities.GEORGETOWN — In March 2021, Mary Dupont came before Georgetown leaders with her vision of turning its downtown into a marketplacewith Latino cultural flare, capitalizing on Sussex County’s large Hispanic population.While that specific plan did not materialize, Dupont is now one of the driving forces behind La Plaza Delaware, a nonprofit that offers comprehensive business plan training, consultation services and access to credit. While she’s envisioning a place where the Latino community or other business leaders find their own voice, she’s a key figure in building the infrastructure to get to that point.Since La Plaza officially launched, it has served more than 250 Latino-owned small businesses in Sussex County. It has solidified partnerships with Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long’s office as well as the Delaware Hispanic Commission, and is helping form a chamber of commerce: Delaware Alliance of Latino Entrepreneurs (DALE).In the new year, La Plaza will also help shepherd a Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) affiliate, which offers a curriculum of hard and soft skills, including writing, public speaking, and project development. The nonprofit is also planning a business expo in the first quarter of 2023, and will be working on a brick-and-mortar location. Both initiatives will be made possible with the help of donations from M&T Bank and the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation.“What’s really behind this is trust,” Dupont said. “You have to partner with the faith-based community, because the priests and pastors are instrumental to offer counseling – and they’re eager to get more resources in their congregation’s hands. But it’s also about being in the community. I go to every event, and you see some of our board members at many of them.”
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