Ramón León

Founding President, CEO, Latino Economic Development Center

Minneapolis, MN

Accelerate Collaboration, Prioritize Equity, Shift Capital  |  Community Economic Development, Food and Agriculture, Incubator / Accelerator, Worker Ownership

Ramón catalyzes economic and community development in Minneapolis’ Latino community.

Ramón is the founding President and CEO of the Latino Economic Development Center of Minnesota (LEDC), a statewide membership-based community development financial institution (CDFI) certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury. LEDC is a community development organization member of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), a member of the Minnesota state council of Opportunity Industrialization Centers (OIC), and also member of OIC America. Ramón was one of the initiators of Latino community organizing and pioneer of the Latino economic development movements in Minneapolis in the early 1990s. Ramón was the founding president of Cooperativa Mercado Central (a 47-business incubator and cooperative in Minneapolis), and co-founder of Plaza Verde and Midtown Global Market. He has been an active social justice leader in his community, serving on several boards and committees at nonprofit organizations and local, state, national, and international governmental entities to bring forward the voice of immigrant and minority communities. He was born in Mexico City but has lived continuously in the United States since 1987 and moved to Minnesota in 1991.

IMPACT

  • Founding president of the board of Mercado Central, a 47-business cooperative that sparked the revitalization of the largest commercial corridor in Minneapolis, Lake Street.
  • Between 1996 and 2000, LEDC provided technical assistance and secured loans for many of the more than 300 Lake Street startups owned by Latino immigrants.
  • In December 2002, initiated the creation of Midtown Global Market, a $18 million project that became a national model of public markets.
  • In 2004, LEDC became a co-owner and co-developer of Plaza Verde, turning a building vacant for almost seven years into an incubator for a dozen businesses.
  • In 2000, truck driver Armando Ocampo and his wife Lilia Zagal came to LEDC to start their first restaurant. In 2012 they opened their fifth full-service sit down restaurant Los Ocampo, a $1.5M project that created 46 new jobs for residents of St. Paul’s east side.

MEDIA