First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) announces Azarel Madrigal has joined the team as the new Program Director.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Azarel join the FSWCF team. Her passion, expertise, humility and love for our rural communities will help us take FSWCF programs, especially the Rural Women-Led Business Fund, to the next level. Myself and the FSWCF board are overjoyed to welcome her and can’t wait to see the impact she will have.” said Cass Walker Harvey, Executive Director at FSWCF.

Tell us about yourself and why you are passionate about small business/economic development/entrepreneurship.

Economic justice is social justice. I am passionate about supporting the disenfranchised and underrepresented, and have worked across nonprofit, government and political sectors to promote equitable community and economic development. I believe when small businesses succeed, we all succeed. I am very grateful to call rural Colorado my home for the past 10 years and I am an Alumna of Adams State University in Alamosa. My husband and I really enjoy participating in all the summer festivities in San Luis Valley. I am first generation Latina; my culture and heritage are really important to me. I enjoy supporting the local cuisine and spending time with my pets!

Why do you think FSWCF’s mission is important?

FSWCF’s work is remarkable, unique, and empowering. Supporting emerging and new businesses is how we improve and support Colorado’s historically disenfranchised communities. FSWCF recognizes that while the rest of Colorado has felt post-recession prosperity our rural communities continue to struggle. Rural Colorado is resilient and the work of FSWCF will continue to build bridges that will lead to economic success.

What will your role at FSWCF entail?

As Program Director I will concentrate primarily on the design, management and implementation of FSWCF programs with a focus on the Rural Women-Led Business Fund and other grant funded initiatives. I will do Program work closely with the Executive Director and Rural Women-Led Fund Community Advisory Committee on the design and implementation of a range of initiatives to support women-led businesses. I will provide operational support across FSWCF, including managing other FSWCF grant funded programs, educational program evaluation and marketing opportunities to our service area.

What are you most excited about for your new role?

I am most excited to meet all the wonderful business owners and future entrepreneurs! I am excited about helping entrepreneurs’ dreams come true by connecting them to necessary resources to move their ideas into a tangible, profitable service and/or product. To me to have entrepreneurial spirit means the ability to embrace innovation and curiosity. One of my favorite quotes is: “Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort”. I look forward to designing programs that ease the burden on entrepreneurs.

If you are interested in more on information on our programs and opportunities email Azarel at [email protected]