Startup Chica Nacional Virtual Conference

AUSTIN, TX – Experiencing increasing conflicts from managing work, family and the overwhelming economic and health impact of COVID-19, 863,000 women dropped out of the workforce in September 2020, compared to 168,000 men but at the same time, applications for starting a business jumped by a 95% increase (Forbes). It is clearly the “Year of the Entrepreneur,” the year of turning your side hustle into a full-time gig. 

For 10+ years Austin-based nonprofit Latinitas has been cultivating this same spirit with young, emerging entrepreneurs ages 9-14 with the city’s largest gathering of girls/girl-identifying and binary students of color creating a business together: Latinitas Startup Chica Conference happening, virtually on Oct. 23, 10:30am to 4:30 pm. 

This iteration of Latinitas Startup Chica Conference (it’s 12th!) walks students through the process of starting a business from concept to pitch with the help of culturally reflective and relevant curriculum, mentors and coaches from all aspects of business development. Attendees use the United Nations 17 Sustainable Goals such as gender equity, racial justice and ending poverty as a context for their business purpose. 

This year’s keynote is Amanda Zamora, journalist and founder of The 19th, an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting on gender politics and policy. Co-founder and publisher, she spent nearly two decades as a digital editor, product manager and audience strategist at newsrooms including the Texas Tribune, ProPublica and The Washington Post. At a time when newsroom budgets across the United States are shrinking, The 19th is investing in journalism that empowers women, women of color and the LGBTQ+ community. 

Austin’s only bilingual STEAM nonprofit since 2002, Latinitas has been working with young girls/girl-identifying and non-binary students of color to combat stereotypes in media and

technology not only based on gender, but also in culture. Event sponsors, all focused on building female leadership in their companies, including eBay, the Barbie Foundation and Applied Materials foundation. 

Austin’s youth are natural entrepreneurs, youth of color maybe even more so. Many students who come to Latinitas Startup Chica Conferences are 1st generation Austinites or grew up watching their parents navigate less traditional pathways towards business ownership due to bias and racism. They are also motivated heavily by social change so their businesses are built to be sustainable but also speak to addressing the most important issues of the day.” explains Latinitas Laura Donnelly, CEO and Founder. 


Available for interview: 

Latinitas Program Director Liliana Cortez 

Latinitas Program Coordinator Beatriz Castillo 

Conference attendees 

Amanda Zamora, Founder, The 19th 

About Latinitas – Austin’s only bilingual STEAM education nonprofit for 20 years, Latinitas, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been empowering all girls to innovate through media and technology by providing direct digital media and technology training and esteem-boosting services not only based in gender, but also culture. Latinitas serves 2000 girls, teens and their families annually in Central Texas and 100s more with virtual programs covering 25+ states and other countries such as Colombia, Venezuela and Costa Rica. Exclusively in underfunded communities, Latinitas has partnered widely and strategically in 150+ schools, libraries, community centers and public housing sites providing hundreds of thousands of free STEAM education to many facing the most challenges to education, economic and tech access.