Jennifer Bolanos is Xcelerate’s newest staff member, providing part-time program and admin support to our team and community. Jennifer previously owned Vía Raíz,a beloved retail shop in NW Portland showcasing the work of Mexican artisans. An alum of the original Xcelerate cohort, Jennifer is a bilingual and bicultural entrepreneur who brings a wealth of experience to our team.
What inspires you about Xcelerate's work/mission?
Xcelerate is building a community of impactful women who support and uplift each other. The organization provides a safe place to share and receive no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. It empowers and elevates a community of female business owners, driving social and economic impact. The possibilities are endless when you have access to resources and a supportive community.
How has your identity as a woman and any other intersectional identities impacted your career journey?
I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants. I saw both my parents create financial stability by running their own businesses. My mother, in particular, who never mastered the English language, ran her own house cleaning business. It allowed her to make a significant monetary contribution to our family's finances and empowered her. Their entrepreneurial spirit and mindset was definitely passed down to my sister and I.
I had the fortune to be a part of Xcelerate Women when it first launched and feel very lucky to have had my dream of owning my own business and store come true. And while my business no longer exists my entrepreneurial spirit lives on. I'm elated to be a part of the Xcelerate team and be in a position where I can support other female business owners.
If you could pick any super power, what would it be and why?
In the 1988 movie, My Stepmother is an Alien, Kim Basinger plays an extraterrestrial woman sent on a secret mission to Earth. In one of the scenes she places her hand on the pages of a book and can immediately scan and absorb the information in it. To gain vast knowledge within seconds would be an incredible super power. As a young girl watching the movie, that power fascinated me. I thought about how incredibly smart I could be and how I would excel in school, making my parents very proud. This was before the internet and AI. Now, as an adult, the idea of having a power such as this still holds so much magic.
Celebrate Women's History Month with us Freeland Spirits!
In honor of Women’s History Month, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) is hosting a panel featuring female founders who will share about their entrepreneurship journeys.