LatinVision Media News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Online Hangout Sept. 25 about new course for young entrepreneurs in Spanish

Young entrepreneurs have a new tool to help determine if they’re ready for business ownership and help them get started. Young Entrepreneurs: An Essential Guide to Starting Your Own Business (Jóvenes Emprendedores) is a free, self-paced online course in Spanish that gives an overview of basic business principles and introduces resources available from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“This month, the SBA recognizes the vital contributions Hispanic American small business owners have made to our economy as we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA administrator. “As a proud Hispanic-American, I believe that providing financial, educational and technical assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs is a major means to create jobs and stimulate the economy. The new course is an essential business development tool for young entrepreneurs that can be central to the future success for many generations to come.”

Read full article

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Franchise Business Opportunities a Growing, Viable Path for Hispanic Entrepreneurs

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Sept. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Coverall North America, Inc., a leading franchisor of commercial cleaning businesses, is a viable option for aspiring Hispanic entrepreneurs interested in starting a business. Franchised business owners have found that being your own boss and having a flexible schedule to spend more time with loved ones are the benefits of ownership.

Of the 8,000 Coverall franchised business owners worldwide, 25 percent of them are of Hispanic descent.

National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, was enacted into law in 1988 to celebrate the history, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Sept. 15 is significant because it serves as the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

"Coverall offers people the opportunity to become their own boss and take control of their future," said Rick Ascolese, CEO of Coverall. "We wish all of our business owners continued success as they operate their businesses for themselves and their families."

From Mexico, Robert Yepez started a Coverall franchised business eight years ago. Over the years, his business grew exponentially. Today, his franchised business services nearly 250,000 square feet each month.

Alan Landaverde, another Hispanic Coverall Franchised Business Owner, is originally from El Salvador. Landaverde worked in the aerospace industry for 25 years before changing his career path and starting a commercial cleaning franchised business. Like many business owners, Landaverde wanted the freedom of owning a business and more time to spend with his children.

Mercedes Cisneros moved to the U.S. in the 1980s and later started a Coverall commercial cleaning franchised business. She has owned her business for eight years growing it through customer referrals.

Coverall franchised business owners cite customer service and going above and beyond expectations as keys to their success.

"When a customer calls we do everything we can to help," said Yepez. "There is no task that my team cannot take on."

Coverall has been recognized with numerous awards for its franchise opportunities. Recently, the franchisor was named by G.I. Jobs as a 'Hot Franchise for Veterans' and was also named to USA Today's 'Top 50 Franchises for Minorities' list in 2013.

Learn more about Coverall franchise opportunities visit

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Best And Worst Cities For Hispanic Entrepreneurs

Hispanics and Latinos now make up the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. By 2050 they will constitute a third of the country’s population, according to census figures and their impact in business continues to grow. Latinos today account for more than 70,000 of the country’s CEOs and the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs has tripled over the past twenty years – surging from around 557,000 in 1992 to over two million in 2012, according to a report by the Partnership for a New American Economy.

Together, they brought in an estimated $486 billion in revenue, says the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Read full article

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Eddie Rodriguez >

Eddie Rodriguez, CEO, Latin Works Music

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Faith in God, passion, stick to it, preparation, a plan, contacts, opportunity and patience.

What inspired you to start your business?
I was working full time as VP Sales for Reed MIDEM involved in a new event called MIDEM Latin America & Caribbean. It is a Latin Music Industry Trade Show & Conference held at the Miami Beach Convention Center 1997, 1998 and the last event MIDEM Americas in 1999.  Since my position was eliminated due to budget cuts plus MIDEM decided to organize only one music industry trade show per year in Cannes, France at Le Palais du Festival as they have for the last 50 years I was on my way to being out of a job. A mentor, the late Jack Hooke (Tito’s manager with the late Ralph Mercado) passed away and I called Tito to express my condolences. He thanked me and asked if I was available to work for him. My answer was when did he want me to start and he said right away. I spoke to Ralph Mercado and Latin Work Music was contracted to manage the King of Latin Music The late Tito Puente.

Does being Hispanic/Latino have any influence on your business?
Yes, since being a bi-lingual Latino working as an entertainment marketing professional, I understand the diversity of the US Hispanic consumer being Hispanic has been key to my success with projects.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
Faith in God and keeping the momentum going on a project until it is completed or you come to the end of the road with it. Then I look to my right and start a new road on a project that inspires me.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Staying relevant with the fast paced evolution of the music industry globally in the last 15 years especially in the distribution of digital content, live concert streaming rights, downsizing of multinational recording companies and the continued growth of the smart phone / tablets / smart TV sectors.
If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
I would have more trade shows and conferences in New York, Miami and Los Angeles where the next generation of Latin music industry leaders can rendezvous annually to learn about the present and future state of affairs of the business.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be a doctor until I learned that studying chemistry and biology were too boring for me.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
Sir Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Jimmy Iovine.

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
All three work well for business meetings for me.  However, I must be disciplined about nutrition and diet.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
Traveling alone up to 70% of the year for out of town business meetings, concert tours, trade shows, conferences and conventions. You miss special occasions with family and friends.

What is your favorite quote?
Let The Games begin.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Yes. It is difficult to find investors that have faith in the future of the music Industry. What generates revenues today is digital audio / video streaming (paid subscriptions) concert tours and music publishing. Being unconventional means thinking out of the box to be successful.

Biggest mistake made?
Wow, the biggest mistake was taking a break from the concert promotions business to focus on educating myself in the digital and technology side of the music Industry for the last 5 years. However I’m back with new ways to monetize content to generate revenues for investors and return on investment to our clients via traditional and new media outlets.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I was involved in a anti-piracy software and digital download technology companies early on and have promoted recorded digital music and video distribution via mobile since before the iPod and smart phones.

About the Company
Latin Works Music is a 100% minority owned Latin music concert organizer, marketing and promotions company. We produce events in venues such as Madison Square Garden NY, The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and nightclubs throughout the USA. We are experts in activations of experiential consumer engagement and experts in gathering data at live events to increase data base for brands messaging to the $1.2 Trillion dollar in annual spending (2013) US Hispanic consumer (population 56 M). 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Study: Albuquerque 31st for Hispanic entrepreneurs

A new report released by financial information site WalletHub ranked Albuquerque at no. 31 in the U.S. for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Rankings were based on each city’s Hispanic purchasing power (we’re number 26) and business friendliness (a less-exciting 71). 

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Springs Resident Honored As Stony Brook Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year

A small-town boy from Palmas, Ecuador, Luis Heras felt he could accomplish big things, but staying in Ecuador, and pursuing electrical engineering as he had planned, didn’t appeal to him as much as making it on his own abroad. So he moved to the United States in hopes of something more.

Now, 20 years later, he owns his own fuel company, Heras Fuel Oil Corporation in East Hampton—and was just named Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year by Stony Brook University’s Small Business Development Center

Read full article

Monday, September 8, 2014

Report: U.S. Hispanic entrepreneurial growth dramatic

The number of Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States has grown exponentially over the past two decades and Hispanic immigrants in particular have a higher rate of entrepreneurship than the U.S. population at large, according to a report released Tuesday by The Partnership for a New American Economy and the Latino Donor Collaborative.

The study, “Better Business: How Hispanic Entrepreneurs Are Beating Expectations and Bolstering the U.S. Economy,” released in Miami during a panel discussion and press conference, showed that between 2010-2012 the entrepreneurial rate declined overall in the U.S., but among Hispanics the rate shot up, said Jeremy Robbins, executive director of the partnership, an organization of 500 government and business leaders who support immigration reform.

Read full article

Friday, September 5, 2014

40 Top Latinos in American Media

This has been a really great year for Latino talent in American media. But before we get into the details of a year in Latino media excellence, I want to first share how this list comes together every year.

Like most media events in digital times this list of top latino talent begins on Twitter. Friends, fans, family, and especially colleagues of excellent Latinos in media recommend them to @vato, me. I add all of the recommended Twitter handles to a private Twitter List that I build and monitor throughout the year in Tweetdeck.  I have created a Collection in Tweetdeck for storing specific top Latino tweets for embedding  throughout next year's list, just as I have Alberto Ciurana's mighty tweet below.

Read the full article

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hispanic Media & Marketing Agency, Omni Direct, Announces 15-Year Anniversary

Omni Direct, a leader in U.S. Hispanic direct response marketing, celebrated its 15 years of business this summer. Specializing in direct to consumer, brand, and digital marketing, Omni Direct was established in 1999 by Alex Agurcia.

Agurcia first founded Omni Direct in recognition of the growing but virtually untapped potential of the Hispanic market in the U.S. Prior to starting Omni Direct, he led Gold Coast Media as their CEO spearheading their rapid growth in the 1990s to become a leader in launching direct products and services to both the general and U.S. Hispanic markets. 

Read full article

Friday, August 29, 2014

How start-up culture is changing Mexico

The story of Mexico’s private sector has long been one of monopolies and duopolies. These often massive companies dominate a range of Mexican industries, reaping the lucrative benefits of little to no competition, established distribution networks and widespread access to credit.

But another story is now emerging. Mexican start-ups, especially those in technology services, are taking off, and their success is quickly broadening the economic landscape.

Many Mexicans own their own businesses. 

Read full article

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Latino Entrepreneurs Get Ready to Pitch Their Startup Ideas at Demo Day Event in Silicon Valley

Manos Accelerator, a startup accelerator program with the vision to be recognized as an international hub in Silicon Valley where Latino entrepreneurs from across the globe can come to convert their big ideas into reality, is having six startup teams from their 2014 Summer batch pitch their ideas at an upcoming Demo Day event on Wednesday, August 27th, at Yahoo headquarters.

“From week one to week twelve, it has been great to see the overall development and progression of our 2nd batch of startup companies,” said Edward Avila, Co-founder and CEO of Manos Accelerator. “Part of what we do here is not only to assist these early-stage startups with their solutions but to inspire Latino entrepreneurs and have them see what is possible and to think big about what they can go do. We are also thrilled to have Manos be embraced by top-tier high tech companies in Silicon Valley like Yahoo and Google.”

Manos Accelerator is a tech accelerator that has partnered with Google for Entrepreneurs since 2013. It provides mentoring, training and investment connections for startup companies. Their 12-week accelerator program selects Latino-led startups and then helps to develop them into marketable, functional companies that are then displayed at the program-concluding Demo Day.

"Manos is building a strong community in Silicon Valley that nurtures and enables Latino entrepreneurs," said Mary Grove, Director of Google for Entrepreneurs. "Google is passionate about helping build inclusive communities with diverse perspectives and we support Manos' mission of providing resources and mentorship to help more Latino entrepreneurs excel globally. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the Manos community."

These companies that have been selected and developed under Manos Accelerator’s program these last 12-weeks get ready to pitch their business solutions to a distinguished panel of judges on August 27th at Yahoo headquarters starting at 5:30 PM. Participating startups include Audive, CoupleCare,, FashionTEQ and saySquare. The event is a day of celebration that gives these startup teams the opportunity to promote their companies to a cross section of the Silicon Valley community that includes entrepreneurs, media, mentors and prospective investors. These presentations are a showcase of their business models and the great progress that have been made due to their participation in the Manos Accelerator program.
About Manos Accelerator, LLC 

Manos Accelerator creates a Latino ecosystem of entrepreneurs, mentors, industry experts, leaders and investors. Through a mentorship-driven program, it provides education, resources and guidance for promising startup companies led by Latinos. For more information, please visit

About Google for Entrepreneurs. 
Google for Entrepreneurs provides financial support and the best of Google's resources to dozens of coworking spaces and community programs across 125 countries. We also create Campuses: physical hubs where entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and build companies that will change the world. To learn more about Google for Entrepreneurs, visit or follow us on G+ (+GoogleForEntrepreneurs) and Twitter (@GoogleForEntrep).

Friday, August 22, 2014

For Fourth Consecutive Year, Republica Ranked as One of Inc. Magazine's 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in America

República, a leading independent cross-cultural advertising, digital and communications agency, today announced its inclusion once again on Inc. magazine's exclusive list of the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America. Ranked at No. 3006, this year marks the fourth consecutive time República is included by the Inc. 5000. Companies such as Yelp, Pandora, Timberland, Dell, Domino's Pizza, LinkedIn, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 5000.

Read article

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Americanizados and Hispanos Lead the Growth of Hispanic-Owned Businesses and Self-Employment

Latinos are introduced to an entrepreneurial spirit and an enterprising nature during childhood. Good deeds and chores done well are rewarded with coins, or the coveted $1 bill. And summer time means earning "spending money," garnered by spending hours mowing lawns, selling lemonade, peddling candy and cookies, or unloading once-loved toys at garage sales.

The innocent desire to earn pocket change matures, and those children later become entrepreneurs who developed much-needed Hispanic businesses, helping to spur economic growth in U.S. markets.

Read full article

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Paola Sanchez >

Paola Sanchez, Co-Founder, Expert Latinos

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Drive and determination. You need to make a decision that you are going to make it happen and work towards your goal until you make it a reality.

What inspired you to start your business?
Inspiration many times comes from being able to identify a need that hasn’t been met and my partner, Carmen Ordonez, and I saw the need there was for journalists and bloggers to connect with a variety of Hispanic experts/sources. Carmen’s experience as a journalist and blogger was what allowed her to understand that need for our specific market that not only helped reporters but in return helped the Hispanic experts by offering them free publicity every time they are mentioned or quoted in a media publication. Moreover, Carmen and I decided to partner up as we each bring different strengths to the company, Carmen specializing on Journalism and Public Relations and I specialize in Marketing and Advertising which makes us a strong team. With the inspiration and the perfect team, Expert Latinos was born.

How did you finance it?
Our company expenses have been very minimal until this point, so it hasn’t been necessary for us to finance Expert Latinos.

Does being Hispanic/Latina have any influence on your business?
Yes, completely! Both my partner and I are Latinas and our business is specifically for the Hispanic market which is why we decided to call our website Expert Latinos. Expert Latinos is a free online resource that connects journalists, bloggers and media professionals with Latino expert sources needed for their story, saving them time and energy. On the other end, it provides sources and PR professionals with the opportunity of free publicity.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
By choosing to see adversity as lessons that life offers us in order to make us wiser. These difficult moments are the ones that make us stronger and more experienced for what is to come. When facing challenging moments, we all have a choice to see the glass half empty or half full, we just choose to always see the glass half full.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
The biggest challenge has been getting people to understand what our service is and how it works. This is tricky as if that message is lost or not delivered correctly; there is no foundation on which to create our business. That is why we’ve created and posted videos on our website in both English and Spanish explaining to people exactly what we are about which is a free service that gives Hispanic business professionals and entrepreneurs the opportunity to be mentioned as experts in media outlets such as Telemundo, Univision, Yahoo en Español, to mention a few.

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
Having started Expert Latinos sooner! went live April 1, 2014 and we’ve already had a great following and have received requests from strong media publications such as Univision, Telemundo and Yahoo en español in our first month looking for Hispanic professionals just like you and me. Can you imagine how long this free tool has been needed for to help our Latino entrepreneurs grow?

What was your childhood ambition?
My partner, Carmen, and I have actually known each other since we were kids and we’ve both always had the ambition to help people. As children, we weren’t always sure how to accomplish it, but we knew that we wanted to be able to make a change in people’s lives. Fifteen years later, we realize that we are accomplishing that through our business.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Lunch. It’s more casual giving you the opportunity to connect on a personal level.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
Social time is very limited as when you choose to have your own business, you don’t really have a start time or an end time as you’re always thinking and working on ways to improve and add to your business.

What is your favorite quote?
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” - Neale Donald Walsch

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
At times it can be, but if you want your business to stand out and be different from all of your competitors, guess what? You have to be unconventional.

Biggest mistake made?
We can’t think of our biggest mistake as it is just part of the mistakes that we’ve made along the way to help us form our business and our life. Mistakes are a part of our life and if we wouldn’t make them, we wouldn’t be human. They are the ones that allow us to learn the best way of doing things so that we can succeed in our business and in life.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes! Innovators are those who ask themselves “how can I make it better? How can I help people and their business? And these are questions we both ask ourselves daily in order to offer the best in our business and any other business we provide.

Acerca de Expert Latinos
Expert Latinos is a free online resource that connects journalists, bloggers and media professionals with Latino expert sources needed for their story, saving them time and energy. On the other end, it provides sources and PR professionals with the opportunity of free publicity. This is a free and fast resource that is beneficial for everyone.

Journalists, bloggers and media professionals can easily post a request on Expert Latinos detailing the source they are looking to interview or quote in their story. The request is then distributed in a daily email alert directly to the database of Latino experts whom have subscribed to the service for free. If the expert is a match, they respond directly to the journalist or blogger through email. Expert Latinos is the perfect tool for experts, small business owners and entrepreneurs seeking to obtain free publicity and gain exposure. On the other end, it helps journalists find the expert source they need for their story, saving them time and energy.

Carmen Ordoñez is the co-founder.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ramon Sandoval >

Ramon Sandoval, Founder,  Vino Latino

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
A dream and the ambition to achieve it.

What inspired you to start your business?
I fell in love with Napa and was excited to learn that there are many Latinos making wine here and actually, all across the USA.  This gave me the idea to combining two things I am passionate about wine and supporting Latinos.

How did you finance it? day at a time.  The term “Boot Strapping” comes to mind.

Does being Hispanic/Latina have any influence on your business?
HUGE. IT’s the inspiration behind my business.  It also helps me find customers because Latinos love to support other Latinos.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
Faith in Jesus Christ, perseverance (never give up), out-of-the-box thinking, and a supportive wife who is also my business partner.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Marketing to consumers on a shoestring budget. 

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
Nothing, I love my business and if there is something I don’t like I can change it.

What was your childhood ambition?
To get out of the ghetto.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
Steve Jobs, Rolando Robledo, Mark Zuckerberg

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast or Lunch, I’m an early riser.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
My corporate job, my fancy car, and vacations.

What is your favorite quote?
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”  ~unknown

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Not for me, just the opposite in fact.  Following the crowd, towing the corporate line, doing everything the same old way bores me and makes me feel stifled. 

Biggest mistake made?
When I first started I would fall for everyone’s promise of “exposure” by pouring wine for free. I quickly learned the only thing it exposed me to was more requests for free stuff while my bills went unpaid.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I do because I’m always looking for new and different ways of doing things. I think you have to when you are small.  I don’t have to money and influence of big corporations so the only way I can compete is to come up with new and fun ideas.  Vino With Amigos is a perfect example.  I had to figure out how to get in front of consumers so I started doing in-home wine tasting parties.  I am also launching my own wine label, “Vino S Vida” because no Latino winemakers made an affordable moscato so I decided to make my own.

Description of the company:
Vino Latino is a wine company that supports and promotes Latinos in the American wine industry by selling wine made or owned by Latinos in the USA.  We sell wine via newsletter specials, wine club, Vino With Amigos (in-home wine tastings), and tours.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Juan Manuel Perez >

Juan Manuel Perez, Pita Grill Owner (Chelsea, New York City)

What do you need to be an entrepreneur? 
To be a good entrepreneur-because these days EVERYONE is an entrepreneur-you need to have a vision that you believe in and that drives you to make that vision a reality.  Then, of course, you need to be organized, ambitious and self-confident.  You can't let anyone deter you from realizing your goal, from attaining that dream that mobilized you in the first place.   

What inspired you to start your business?  
My parents bake bread for a living and work out of our home in Mexico.  I grew up watching not only their technical skill in executing great bread but also their entrepreneurial spirit: they always sold their product!  They taught me a great work ethic and they inspire me still, every day to excel.  When I came to the United States, I started at the very bottom of the totem pole so to speak, as a delivery boy.  But nothing was beneath me and I learned every facet of this difficult food industry.  When I finally got the opportunity to run my own restaurant, there was nothing that I did not do or could not do.  The business felt mine because I had cleaned the bathrooms, I had run the register, I had delivered the food and cooked the food.  I felt confident in my abilities because I knew how to do every job in the restaurant.  

How did you finance it?  
I saved for many years.  There were no tricks or gimmicks.  I worked very, very hard.  I worked long hours. I lived frugally and I saved. When the opportunity came to take over the Pita Grill restaurant, I seized the chance and was ready financially. However, I did need some financial help. I received funding through Fora Financial when I needed to fund restaurant renovations shortly after taking over ownership. Fora Financial helped me a great deal.  If you can find funding with a low interest rate, it can be a great financial tool.  It can help push you that extra step further.

Does being Hispanic/Latino have any influence on your business? 
No.  Not at all.    

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead? 
My experience and my knowledge push me to excel and when I am faced with difficulties, I just push through.  I never stop or complain.  I never lament.  I just keep going looking for the pot at the end of the rainbow.  I never forget what brought me to where I am today.  I never forget how lucky I am.  I never forget that original vision.  

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?  
The biggest challenge in the food business is the big chain competition. Competing with Chipotle, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks, etc. is tough! These big corporate food chains have huge financial backing and huge advertising budgets.  They detract from smaller businesses and open so many stores within 1 square mile, that it takes a great deal of skill to keep a food business open.  It is a case of Simon and Goliath.  But I never lose faith in Simon and in us small business owners.  It is important also, as a consumer that you make purchase choices that help other small businesses.  I try to buy my coffee at the bodega near my house and I like to make local grocery purchases.  Every day we can make choices that help each other out, that can help our communities not get enveloped by the huge corporate chains that want to take over every facet of your daily life from pharmaceutical needs to pizza and coffee etc.  Just remember Simon and Goliath and contribute to the struggle as best you can.  

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?  
I don't think I would change anything about my business.  When I want to change something, I change it!  I can, however, think of things I would like to add.  I would like to drive sales up by taking advantage more of the area my restaurant is in.  We are near Port Authority and in the heart of Chelsea.  I would like to introduce more people to Pita Grill.  I am planning to take steps toward this goal this year: advertising, word-of-mouth campaigns, social media etc.    

What was your childhood ambition?  
Most of all I want to be a good human being.  I think being a businessman does not mean that my moral virtues have to fall by the wayside.  I think these can, instead, help me to make my business better in the end.  I grew up in a very poor family.  For a time we had no place to live and worked in the street.  I always dreamed about coming to the United States and I always dreamed of making my parents proud and becoming a success.  At the end of the day, I care most about taking care of others and keeping close to the good moral principals that my parents instilled in me.  I am proud of where I came from and I love the idea of helping others too, aspire to dream big and realize their dreams.
Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.  
Carlos Slim.  Donald Trump.  Jorge Ramos.

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?  
Lunch.  Definitely lunch.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?  
My sacrifices have truly been great.  For the last 16 years I have not been able to see my family in Mexico, not been able to hug my mother or kiss my father.  I miss them so much and this sacrifice hurts a lot, it truly does. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of everyone I grew up with and long to abrazarlos.  
I am devoted to my business and I spend my days, my nights, my weekends, and my holidays working.  I love being a businessman and I know what it takes to succeed; but, yes, the sacrifices have been great.  

What is your favorite quote?  
“The biggest thing in life is not money, it is not power, it is not a position that you hold; it is what you hold in your heart and your mind.  Your heart and your mind have no limitations and their potential is never-ending.”  

Is it difficult to be unconventional?  
No, not at all.  When you have a goal, nothing holds you back.  There are no limits or conventions or traditional paths.  You just work toward your goal, you just realize it.

Biggest mistake made?  
I don't think there are mistakes. But there are weaknesses. I tend to trust people too quickly. I should be more wary. I should be more cautious.  I am working toward this. I am always a work-in-progress!

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?  
I do sometimes. I like to bring new concepts to existing businesses and I love to help business evolve. That means I have to observe a lot. I need to watch the needs of the clientele and adapt to suit their needs.

Description of your company: 
Pita Grill is an eclectic and healthy concept that was born in New York City and which I feel proud to be a part of. We sell fast-food cuisine with all-natural ingredients; we don't believe in serving processedfood and make all our food in-house. Our extensive menu offers things such as hummus, fish tacos,smoothies, pita sandwiches.  We serve food in a relaxed atmosphere and believe in always serving food with a smile.  We are always happy to serve you or fulfill your catering needs. See website

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bartek Oparski, CEO,

Bartek Oparski, CEO,

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Being specialist in my area, vision, passion and willingness to work hard.

What inspired you to start your business?
To develop something meaningful for my customers.

How did you finance it?
Family so far, we might go for first external financing in 2014.

Does being Hispanic/Latino have any influence on your business?
I am actually European but the passion of Hispanic users drives towards being one of most popular shopping sites in the US. We look also for Hispanic cooperation partners like bloggers and shop owners because they are very meaningful for our business.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
I am convinced of the success even if it might be necessary to repeatedly align the strategy in a very fast changing business environment.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Technical development - Charlateria’s system might look at first sight quite simple but it has a complex technological backend with diverse interaction possibilities and user friendly privacy settings.

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
We will build out in the coming months the shopping part, Plaza. The direct e-commerce part gets more and more focus, though the social part offers already interesting features.

What was your childhood ambition?
Movie director - I always wanted to create and shape something inspirational and entertaining. Now, in the Internet industry it is also possible but in a slightly different way compared to the show business.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
There are so many who impress me but if I had to tell only three then it would be Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg.

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
I moved with my family to another corner of the country, invested all my savings and still work 60+ hours per week.

What is your favorite quote?
"If you're competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering." - Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Probably trying hard to be unconventional will usually not work out. Be yourself and do what you love and the rest will follow.

Biggest mistake made?
We needed too long for our first Alpha version, there are ways to do it better.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Partially but we’re still heading towards enhanced shopping experience and are keen to find the ideal mix, that will be supported by technology and people.

Description of the company is a new Spanish language social commerce portal that makes online shopping easier. Visitors can always effortlessly find the right product for them or that special someone. The “Plaza” displays products from numerous American online stores and shoppers can find there virtually everything at the best possible price. An optional signup for a free account takes just a few seconds using own e-mail address or Facebook account.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Luis Escobar > Editor in Chief of LatinVision Media

Luis Escobar, Managing Editor at LatinVision Media Inc. See here:

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Yes, absolutely. It helps to assimilate the best of both cultures and be more receptive to other cultures as well.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I just try to learn as much as I can from that experience, forget it and move on.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
It hasn't come yet.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I should have paid more attention to my physics teacher in high school.

What was your childhood ambition?
I did not really have any. I was having too much fun that there was not time for being ambitious.

Tell us about three people that you admire.
Saint John Perse, Adam Smith,  Nelson Mandela.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast. Then I feel free.

What is your favorite quote?
"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate"

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Being conventional is difficult.

Biggest mistake made?
The next one.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
More than and innovator, I’m a curious guy.

About Luis Escobar
Luis Escobar got his masters in Philosophy in La Habana, Cuba and taught at several institutes of higher education. After relocating to the United States, Luis Escobar worked as a translator and business analyst for Moody’s Investors Services. Luis then started his journalism career working for a short time at el diario/La Prensa then moved quickly to The Associated Press as a journalist and copy editor. Gaining 10 years plus experience moved to The Wall Street Journal Interactivo and Dow Jones Newswires. While at WSJ and Dow Jones he continued to study behavioral finance, behavioral economics and international markets at New York University.  He also worked doing research and consulting for Fortune 500 companies.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Carolina Garcia-Aguilera - Independent Writing and Editing Professional

Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Independent Writing and Editing Professional

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
I don’t think that an individual needs to posses one specific, single characteristic to be a successful entrepreneur. Rather, it is a combination of characteristics that are necessary: unwavering belief in oneself and in the business one wants to create; awareness that it will be a long, difficult road; having the cash resources to weather periods of not having income coming in; self-discipline; strong support group (personally and professional); having a thick skin (not being deflated by being rejected); having flexibility; being open to suggestions, but not being swayed by them; ability to function on little sleep. 

What did inspire you to start your business?
I had always known I wanted to be a writer, and the genre that interested me the most was the mystery field, specifically the one that featured a female private investigator as its protagonist. In order to write credible, believable books, I was convinced that I had to actually work as a private investigator, so I interned at an investigative agency here in Miami to acquire the necessary knowledge. I stayed at that firm for two years, and, then applied for, and was granted, a private investigator’s license (C-8800297). After acquiring my license, with a partner, a former Federal agent, I set up a private investigative agency where we handled all sorts of cases, both criminal and civil. I worked for ten years as a private investigator before writing my first novel, Bloody Waters, which was published by G.P.Putnam’s Sons in 1996. The experience I had acquired during that time proved to be invaluable for writing the novels.

How did you finance it?
My partner and I used some of the money we had saved from working at the agency to pay for the minimal start up costs (corporation fees; liability insurance; stationery; telephones; etc.). Additionally, we made a deal with two attorneys and a former judge who shared office space in a building they owned that we would work three cases a month for only costs and in return we could have use of two empty offices; have the services of the receptionist; share a conference room; use the copy machine, etc. It was a beneficial arrangement for all concerned.

Being Hispanic….Does it have any influence on your business?
Yes, being Hispanic is definitely an asset in my business. I live and work in Miami, a city that is overwhelmingly Hispanic, so the fact that I am Cuban and fluent in Spanish is extremely helpful. I understand my clients’ background and culture so I can relate to their specific situations.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Fortunately, I have not faced too much adversity- I consider myself to be extremely fortunate in that respect. However, the times when I’ve faced adversity, I’ve always told myself that I’ve worked too hard to get to where I am in life to let a setback stop me. I visualize how I will feel after I’ve resolved the problem, and that is usually enough to help me overcome whatever it is. I transform the situation into an “objective” one from a “subjective” one. In other words, it’s not personal. It is what it is and I just have to deal with it in that way. No feeling sorry for myself, ever, no matter how unfair it might be.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
There is not one “biggest challenge” that I have faced- there are several ones, not surprising, given the field in which I work. Most of my business as a private investigator is as a result of referrals from attorneys. As a private investigator, I usually work alone. After discussing the case with whoever hired me, I study the particular situation and figure out the best way to work the case. The attorneys I work with- especially on criminal cases- rely on my expertise and work product when deciding how best to proceed when crafting a defense. Although I’m very thorough when conducting an investigation, a huge challenge is if I’ve missed something and the final report that I present to the attorney is incomplete. When first starting out, a majority of my cases were domestic- infidelity, bigamy, how genuine so-called “green card marriages” were- but as time passed, I could become more selective. I started working as a private investigator in Miami in the 1980’s, when the city was considered to be the cocaine capital of the world. At times it seemed as if every case I worked had a drug angle to it. Given that, I had to be very, very careful when choosing my clients.

If you could change on thing about your business, what would it be?
I would like to change the perception that private investigators are all sleazy, alcoholic individuals who lurk around wearing trench coats and videotaping spouses screwing around. The public at large believes that we only work cases involving infidelity. Domestic cases are only a small part of our business, a fact that is especially true in Florida, a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that infidelity has no bearing on any financial settlement between spouses.  Private investigators work cases that deal with all sorts of situations- financial, insurance fraud, money laundering, wire transfer fraud, tax evasion, background checks; etc.- but it seems that we cannot get rid of the “sleazy” label.      

What was your childhood ambition?

I always wanted to be an archeologist. In college, I was a history/political science major, so as a requirement for graduation, I had to take many history courses, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I suppose that working as a private investigator fulfills my need to conduct investigations and look for clues as to what has taken place, a skill that archeologists must possess to discover secrets, albeit ones that took place centuries before.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.

Jeff Bezos
Martha Stewart
Charles Schwab

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Definitely lunch. I am not a morning person, so meeting at breakfast is not an option. I’m Cuban, so I have to have consumed a serious amount of coffee before I become what could be considered operational. Lunch is perfect. Whatever business needs to be discussed can usually be concluded in an hour. Dinner is not good for me, as I like to drink red wine with my meal, and I don’t want my faculties affected by liquor. It’s not that I get sloshed, it’s that I like to be totally clear headed when discussing business- it’s just too important. Also, at dinner, the temptation is to linger at the table after a meal, and I’m not one to do that when discussing dinner. I do that with family and friends.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a  business success?
I am the mother of three daughters. When I started working as a private investigator they were three, eight and ten years old. Although I tried not to let work affect my time with them, there is no question that I was forced to make sacrifices if I was to be successful. I could not tell a client that I could not attend a meeting because I had to drive a ballet carpool. After some hits and misses, I learned how to manage my time so that the impact on my family for me to be able to successfully work my cases was minimal. On the other hand, my daughters were able to learn from my juggling my personal and professional life how hard choices are made. I hope I’ve been a good role model for them. Thankfully, they’ve turned out well. My eldest daughter, Sarah, the lawyer, is also a mother to her baby Violet- proving that, with careful planning, it is possible to have both a personal and professional life- although not easy by any means.  

What is your favorite quote?
“The harder I work the luckier I get.”

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
No, not at all. For me, it’s way easier being unconventional than conventional. I became a private investigator in the mid 1980’s in Miami, at a time when only 20% of the investigators in Florida were women, and, of that number, only a very few were Hispanic.  I’ve never really considered my career choice to be unconventional- additionally, much to my mother’s chagrin, I’ve never much cared what anyone thought of me. I never set out to be a private investigator and run such an agency; for me, working in that field was a means to an end. I knew I wanted to write a series of books featuring a Cuban-American female private investigator protagonist who lived and worked in Miami, and becoming one was the best way to achieve that goal. It also gave me “street cred”.

Biggest mistake?
Too many to mention- but, thankfully, nothing that could not be corrected, or used as a painful learning experience- until I got smart. Examples: getting stiffed on fees; trusting the wrong people; doubting the good ones.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
No, I definitely do not consider myself an innovator. I had a goal, and I limited myself to working towards it.

Your company.
Cuban-born, Miami Beach based Carolina Garcia-Aguilera is the author of ten books as well as a contributor to many anthologies, but she is perhaps best known for her Lupe Solano mystery series. Her books have been translated into twelve languages. One Hot Summer, her seventh novel, was made into a film for Lifetime Television. Ms. Garcia-Aguilera, who has been a private investigator for over twenty-five years, has been the recipient of many awards.

I’ve been very, very lucky (see answer #12). I’ve finally been able to live my life as I wish: I set my own work schedule, working from my office at home, accompanied by my four dogs (all huge; all rescues), often being visited by various members of my family and friends, drinking as much red wine as I want, going to bed at whatever time I want. Perfect.  

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