PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In support of the continuing growth of Latina small business owners, Wells Fargo & Company will recognize 10 Latina entrepreneurs with the fifth annual Anna Maria Arias Memorial Business Fund Awards. Presented in partnership with LATINA Style Magazine and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), each winner will receive a $5,000 cash grant and an award commemorating the life and achievements of Anna Maria Arias, the late founder of LATINA Style Magazine and one of the foremost advocates for Latina empowerment and economic development.
The 2006 Anna Maria Arias Memorial Fund Award winners are:
* Leticia Badillo -- IPA Sales, Chicago, IL -- Latina-owned company that supplies food, beverage, and packaging material to wholesalers, distributors, major corporations and government agencies.
* Marta Bianchini -- Cubanitas, Milwaukee, WI -- owner of the first Cuban restaurant and bar in Wisconsin -- ranked by Hispanic Magazine as one of the Top 50 U.S. Hispanic Restaurants in 2006.
* Marie Diaz -- Pursuit of Excellence, Inc., Dallas, TX -- provides small and mid-market companies with a web-based system to automate human resources and payroll functions.
* Mabel Katz -- Your Business Inc., Woodland Hills, CA -- supports Latinos in Southern California to better themselves through financial and life-skills advice. She effectively accomplishes this through consulting, conferences and her television show, "Despertar."
* Nancy Marmolejo -- Comadre Coaching, Anaheim, CA -- a business coaching company dedicated to providing solutions and strategies for the personal and financial success of Latina entrepreneurs.
* Evangelina Mendoza -- Mercado Latino/Handy Helpers, Anderson, CA -- offers an array of imported Mexican items such as clothing, household supplies, sport products, and specialty food items as well as bilingual consulting services related to real estate loans, taxes and notary services.
* Carol Sanchez Novak -- Sanchez & Santiago, CPAs, Natick, MA -- offers accounting/ bookkeeping, tax preparation and planning, payroll and consulting services for individuals and small business.
* Lesley Oviedo, Dina Alvarez and Lesley Gomez -- Somos Padres, Astoria, NY -- the first and only free bilingual parenting publication for Hispanic families in New York City.
* Leeanna Roman -- Providence Pediatric Medical Daycare, Berlin, NJ -- a medical day care program that services children with special nursing needs with medical care and educational programs.
* Wilka Toppins -- The Toppins Law Firm, Houston, TX -- the only Latina- owned and founded, bilingual law firm; practicing law in the U.S. and abroad in the areas of business, corporate and employment law.
Winners are selected based on business innovation, success, and community service. The awards will be presented on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at the Anna Maria Arias Hispanic Businesswomen's Luncheon held during the 27th Annual USHCC National Convention and Business Expo in Philadelphia.
"This year's award recipients fulfill an important part of Anna Maria's legacy -- promoting and giving a voice to the success of Latinas everywhere," said Tim Rios, senior vice president and national spokesperson for Wells Fargo's Latino Business Services program. "They are each pursuing their dreams and opening doors to establish economic empowerment for other Latinas. They are trailblazers and are making a real difference in their communities and nationwide."
Since 1997, Wells Fargo's Latino Business Services program has provided outreach and education to help connect Latino business owners with financial services they need to grow their businesses. Through research, seminars and community activities, the program helps Latino business owners understand how to access capital, plan for retirement and build wealth for their families.
Measuring its progress with a public goal to lend $5 billion to Latino- owned businesses by 2010, Wells Fargo has lent nearly $3.8 billion to Latino business owners since the program's inception.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $500 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,200 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the highest credit-rated bank in the U.S., receiving an "Aaa" by Moody's Investors Service -- its top credit rating -- and "AA+" by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.
Providing financial products and services to more than one million businesses with annual sales up to $20 million in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, Wells Fargo is the #1 lender to small businesses in the United States in total dollar volume according to the most recent CRA data (2004).
The second largest national SBA lender in dollars, Wells Fargo is an SBA Preferred Lender in 30 states and the District of Columbia, and originated 4,165 loans for $579 million in 2005. Its diverse business services programs provide outreach and education to women, African American, Latino, and Asian business owners about financial services.
Since 1995, Wells Fargo has loaned more than $33 billion to women and diverse business owners. For more information, please visit us at www.wellsfargo.com/biz.
About LATINA Style Magazine
LATINA Style Magazine is the most influential publication reaching the contemporary Hispanic professional working woman in the United States. It broke new ground in 1994 with the launching of the first national magazine dedicated to the needs and concerns of the contemporary Latina business owner and the Latina professional. With a national circulation of 150,000 and a readership of nearly 600,000, LATINA Style is unique in its ability to reach both the seasoned professional and the young entrepreneur. The LATINA Style Business Series one of its signature programs is the most successful business development program in the nation focusing on Latina entrepreneurs.
About the USHCC
The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the nation's largest and most influential advocate for the more than 2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, which generate more than $350 billion annually. It serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers nationwide and Mexico by actively promoting the economic growth and development of Hispanic business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Source: Wells Fargo & Company