Thursday, November 26, 2015

Top Latino Entrepreneurs Recount Trials and Triumphs of Starting Up in the U.S.

Edwin Matos co-founded drug-safety consulting company BioPoint in 2011, but his dreams of becoming a successful business owner began long before that, when he was the young son of immigrants growing up in the Bronx.

Matos's father, who hails from a family of cattle ranchers in Cuba, fled the island nation in 1967. After making the treacherous journey to the U.S. on a raft, he met Matos's mother, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. The two started a chain of butcher shops in the Bronx.

Their efforts inspired their son, who worked in the family business throughout his youth, to pursue his own dreams of entrepreneurship.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Latino entrepreneurs have the drive, but are blocked from accessing the tools to succeed

“When you say the word 'Latino,' what’s the synonym that comes to mind?”

Sol Trujillo asks this question, then pauses for a second. A brightness creeps into his voice as he simply states, “My answer is ‘entrepreneur.’”

Trujillo, a highly successful Latino businessman who helped develop the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI), is a passionate advocate for Latino owned businesses, seeing them as an opportunity of economic growth.

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Mexican start-ups at end of the queue for venture capital backers

Martín Meléndez, a Mexican video games developer, has a proven record and a project that he estimates will break even a month after it is launched. He needs to raise $500,000. Yet virtually no Mexican investors will touch him.

“When I pitch to venture capital firms or private investors, they say ‘the business plan looks strong, the idea is fantastic, but video games . . . I don’t know’,” says the 25-year-old entrepreneur. “They say, ‘if you get another investor, we’ll think about it’. No one wants to be the first. That’s been happening for over a year now.”

Yet raising money in Mexico ought not to be that difficult. Luis Robles, head of the Mexican Banking Association (ABM), said this year that the country’s banks had enough capital to boost their credit portfolios by a third: “In other words, we have unused installed capacity equivalent to $100bn.”

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Hispanic Entrepreneurship Could Mean $1.4 Trillion Boost to U.S.

Laura Jimenez knew she was worth more than she was making, so she started her own business to prove it.

The Texas native opened Rockville, Maryland-based FireClean, an emergency cleaning and restoration service, in 1996 at the age of 27 after doing similar jobs for others. Jimenez took pride in the quality of her work and thought becoming her own boss would strengthen her family’s finances and allow more time with the children.

Employers “were not paying me what I was supposed to get paid,” Jimenez said. Even though the work is difficult and the hours long -- her current crew of six is on-call nights and weekends -- Jimenez says, “I love what I do.”

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Emerging Lending Marketplace Focused on Underbanked Hispanic Businesses Raises $750,000 in Seed Capital

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Camino Financial is an online lending marketplace primarily focused on deploying capital to the largest and fastest growing underbanked business segment in the U.S., Hispanic-owned businesses.  With the emergence of many new online lenders and credit marketplaces, Camino Financial expects to carve a sizeable niche in online business lending.  Recently published research by Geoscape estimates that 4.1 million U.S. based businesses are owned by Hispanics.  Based on this research, Hispanic-owned businesses grew 15x faster in 2012-15E compared to all U.S. firms.  Despite their size and growth profile, Hispanic-owned businesses struggle to get access to bank loans with approximately 6% of SBA 7(a)1 loans deployed to Hispanics in the last year (source:

Camino Financial was co-founded by twin brothers, Sean and Kenny Salas, while completing their MBAs at Harvard Business School.  The Salas brothers were born from an entrepreneurial family.  The matriarch of the Salas family started a small Mexican restaurant and over the life of her career, opened over 30 locations in southern California.  Unfortunately, at the age of 12, Sean and Kenny saw the fall of the Mexican restaurant chain, a life changing event.  Drawing inspiration from their mother's story, the Salas brothers were determined to create a lending platform catered to solving unique problems facing the Hispanic business community.

"The Hispanic business owner has unique problems accessing capital, stemming from areas as deep as language, culture, and education," said Sean Salas, CEO.  "Lending to the Hispanic market is not as simple as translating your website to Spanish.  Our client is seeking an integrated customer experience that requires a tailored design across the business spectrum in brand, product, positioning, and customer service."

The Company is backed by institutional and angel investors including Collaborative Fund, all of whom offer deep expertise in online lending, commercial banking, and Hispanic marketing.  In particular, Collaborative Fund has significant domain expertise in the online lending space with investments in Bond Street, UpStart and InVenture.

With seed funding in place, Camino Financial will ramp-up its marketing efforts and build out its tech infrastructure for scalable growth.

"We are excited to grow our team and invest in infrastructure to seal partnerships that will enable us to build trust and help our community," said Kenny Salas, Co-Founder and VP of Operations & Finance.

Camino Financial also stands out as it joins the tiny minority (less than 1%) of venture-backed start-ups that are founded by Hispanics (source: CB Insights).

Sean states: "We have a dual sense of responsibility to Hispanics and other under-represented minorities aspiring to break the glass ceiling to access venture and bank capital.  We must validate that making a concentrated bet on Hispanic entrepreneurs and business owners is trend-setting bet that will generate above market returns.  Through Camino Financial, we plan to build momentum for re-investment in under-represented communities, including the Hispanic community.  And encourage these ventures be led by minority and women talent.  The potential is there, we just need to unlock it."

To learn more about Camino Financial visit

About Camino Financial
Camino Financial is a credit marketplace matching small businesses with the most affordable funding option offered by its network of reputable lenders.  The Company specializes in originating loans for first-time business borrowers who cannot get a loan from a bank, and provides ongoing credit monitoring and advice to ensure clients improve their business credit in an effort to qualify for a bank loan.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Latin America dating app Kickoff inks $1.6 mln

New York, NY – Kickoff, Latin America’s leading dating app, which connects friends of friends looking for a meaningful relationship, has received a $1.6 million investment from Monashees Capital, Brazil’s leading venture capital fund, and angel investors. Kickoff emphasizes quality connections over quantity by making introductions to people in each user’s social network. Kickoff is available on iOS and Android.

Kickoff was launched in São Paulo in December 2014 and has grown via word of mouth across Brazil and Argentina. “Our international team has built Kickoff into the leading dating app in Latin America, where Kickoff’s focus on making introductions to people in your social network is a great fit and differentiator. Friend and family connections are particularly important here. The Monashees investment provides us the resources to grow our team, expand to new cities and develop new features our users are asking for,” says co-founder and COO Alanna Phelan.

Read full article

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hector Dominguez >

Hector Dominguez, co-founder, The Digital Union

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
You need to have controlled fear.  It would be easy for me to say that in order to be an entrepreneur you need courage, tenacity and to be fearless.  All those attributes are a given and often utilized to inspire people to do the same.  I believe, however, that it often times discourages people that might be on the brink of entering their own entrepreneurial experience.  While it is true that you need to have courage you also need to have the ability to control the fear of failure and use it to your advantage.  This doesn’t mean you should not take risks.  It just means that you can’t forget those that depend on you in order to drive you to over perform.  In my case, I started my first company well into my 30s after leaving a great job as an IBM executive.  I was driven by the fear of failing and having to face the people that assured me I made the wrong move to leave a great job to face the unknown.  This fear was not debilitating in any way but a way to get inspired to work a little harder, a little smarter every day.  Entrepreneurs should recognize that this road is not easy and fear is a great asset when you managed to use it to your advantage.

What inspired you to start your business?
I was inspired to start Digital Union in 2011, after I agreed to sponsor an event for DiscoverHope, a nonprofit providing microcredit loans and education to women in the northern Andes of Peru. I was immediately drawn to the DiscoverHope mission, but when I learned that all of their Board of Director’s were non-Hispanic white, I felt guilty and angry at myself for being so disconnected from the needs of others, especially Latinos in poverty, who were being helped through DiscoverHope. The anger inside me helped me to quickly get involved in the organization, where I came to know the Founder, Maggie Miller, who soon became my Digital Union partner.

Maggie and I wanted to combine our worlds. With her experience building and fundraising for nonprofit organizations for nearly 20 years, combined my experience as a tech entrepreneur and executive management background, we thought we could use our skillsets to inspire business leaders and create social impact. We wanted to help companies be an active part of solving issues. We soon formed Digital Union, and have never looked back.

How did you finance it?
Digital Union was started using our own funds.  It is hard to raise money when your product is based on new, unproven methodology.  For the first two years, we actually performed our services pro-bono for a myriad of industries in order to prove our methodology.  This investment proved to be key to our success as we now work around the world with companies that want to create meaningful social issues using their core skills and strength.

Does being Hispanic/Latino have any influence on your business?
Our culture puts a lot of value in human interaction. We like to get close to people in any situation.  When you use this skill in business it really makes a difference.  Most of my business discussions are at least 50% about personal matters.  I like to get to know the people and care about them at a personal level way before we talk business.  When done genuinely, business flows a lot smoother.

Our culture is known for being passionate, caring and hard working.  It is in our social DNA and in our business it is a definite asset. With the current political situation, it is important to show what we can do to advance ourselves, our communities and our country.  We are all Americans and want the rest of the country to know we are contributing in major ways to the advancement of our economy and society.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
You can’t forget or lose focus of why you started your own business in the first place.  I still have not met a single entrepreneur that is not passionate about their company.  In my experience, surrounding myself with successful entrepreneurs helped me realize I was not alone in this journey.  Successful entrepreneurs have failed and recovered and their experiences have taught me that there is always a way to move ahead.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
What Digital Union does is so new that the hardest challenge was convincing company owners and executives that they could alleviate social issues while their business reaps benefits from it.  Once we were able to prove that many business issues could actually be solved by building social impact strategies, our business started to grow. 

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
Honestly, I only wish I could have started this business earlier.  We found the formula to help the world and businesses while making money.  However, everything happens for a reason and the experience that I gained from over 15 years of working in the tech industry and from building and growing my first company ( gave me the tools that I utilize every day to grow this business.

What was your childhood ambition?
I wish I had a magical answer for this question.  Honestly, I was never great at one thing.  But I do thank my parents for pushing me to try new things.  I had the fortune of being exposed to many sports, musical instruments, other languages, etc.  All these experiences helped forge the person I am today.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
Steve Jobs for his innovative vision.  Elon Musk for his disruptive thinking. Benjamin Franklin for being a jack of all trades and never giving up.

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Happy Hour.  I love connecting at a personal level before we talk about business.  I enjoy people when they are open about who they are and their motivations.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
While building my first company I went through a divorce.  The time, effort and focus on the business made me lose focus on other parts of my life.

What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is by a Mexican historical figure named Benito Juarez: “El respeto al derecho ajeno, es la paz”.  Which means that peace happens when people respect other people’s rights.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Absolutely.  It is very hard to swim against the current, especially when others don’t believe you are going to be successful.  I always advice young entrepreneurs to have a good balance in their close circle of friends and family.  You should always have a mix of positive people, negative people and everything in between. 

Biggest mistake made?
My first job during college was working at Dell in Austin doing tech support.  I got stock options and awards.  I had no clue what that meant.  I ended up selling stock in the early 90s that would be over $60M now.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why? 
I do now.  However, I did not use any innovation when I built my first company, Verdtek, Inc. Verdtek is a technology consulting services company.  We were merely trying to offer high-end technology services at lower prices which is nothing unique.  With Digital Union, we definitely innovated by building the methodology to walk companies through building their own social impact strategies.  When they follow our methodology they will create programs that impact the world while their companies reap the benefits of having elevated brands, elevated image, increased employee attraction/retention and higher revenues.

About Digital Union
The Digital Union helps companies merge purpose and profit. As a social impact consulting firm, the company guides businesses through creating and implementing social impact strategies that align with business objectives.
During the past decade, corporate philanthropy became commonplace, but today it is evolving from simple giving into strategic programs that inspire and unite stakeholders, while generating competitive advantages.
Digital Union’s five-step approach modernizes traditional CSR program by using client’s core capabilities to generate impact programs that create financial and social profits. Throughout the process of working with Digital Union, clients are offered clear goals and guided steps to ensure impact programs support core business objectives, including employee engagement and retention, investor relations, and community relations.
To date, the company has helped more than 75 for-profit companies develop impact ideas that integrate stakeholder systems and are authentic and transparent. Digital Union was founded in 2012 and is based in Austin, TX.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why Facebook's Latest Shot at Diversity Misses Its Mark

In 2007 one of my first companies, Black Web 2.0, was a site that covered news related to African-Americans in the tech industry. Back in those days it, was hard to cover news - so honestly, it was really up to us to create it. Finding subjects to interview and feature were far and few between, and no easy task. That's what excites me most about all the initiatives with a mission to diversify the industry: Back in the day, these things just flat-out didn't exist, and there was no pressure from any direction to change it.

So we should be excited, right? People are finally taking notice and we have a ton programs and commitments from large corporations. Wrong. I recently read an article about Facebook's new diversity initiative, TechPrep. I went to the site. It's beautiful and has some good info on it. I noticed in the footer they describe the program as "...a Facebook-led initiative, supported by McKinsey & Company, to promote computer science and programming as a career option and to provide resources to get started." 

Read full article

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Number of Hispanic owned businesses doubles

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce released its fifth annual edition of the DATOS Tucson report on Oct. 6. According to a release, the report provides an overview of the state of the Hispanic market in southern Arizona, as well as statewide and nationally.

"Tucson and southern Arizona are vital to Arizona's overall economic prosperity, especially as it relates to our fast-growing partnership with Mexico," said Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr., President and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "We're proud to deliver the message that Arizona's future is inextricably linked to the economic health of its exploding Hispanic population."

The release states the number of Hispanic-owned business have doubled statewide 2007, while the number of Latina-owned businesses has tripled.

Read full article

Monday, October 5, 2015

Now Open: 2016 Echoing Green Fellowship Application

The 2016 Echoing Green Fellowship application is now open! Echoing Green is accepting applications for our 2016 class of Fellows until November 17, 2015 at 2:00 pm ET. We’re looking for emerging leaders, driven by a strong sense of purpose, who are ready to challenge the status-quo as they tackle issues facing their communities across the globe.
We’ve pulled together some sample language you can use to share this opportunity among your network:
  • Could you use up to $90,000 to launch your innovative idea, and change the world? @Echoing Green[]’s Fellowship Programs invest in next generation leaders working to solve the world’s biggest problems with up to $90,000 and individualized support to launch your enterprise. Apply by Nov. 17:
Helpful Links

Saturday, October 3, 2015

MBA Entrepreneurs From Top B-Schools Raise $62bn In Venture Capital

Start-up companies founded by graduates of 25 top business schools have raised $62.8 billion in venture capital funding, according to a BusinessBecause analysis of data from PitchBook, a VC and private equity research firm.

PitchBook compiled a ranking of the top global universities and business schools for VC funding.

Top of the MBA list is Harvard Business School, whose 557 entrepreneurs have raised $6.7 billion for nearly 500 start-up companies. One Harvard venture, Oscar Health Insurance, a US health insurance company that utilizes technology and data, raised $327 million, valuing the start-up at $1.5 billion

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Hispanic Business Growth Outstrips Rest of U.S.

The growth in Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. is outstripping that of companies in general, according to a study released Monday.

Between 2012 and 2015, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses has grown at an annual rate of 7.5 percent, 15 times faster than the 0.5 percent growth rate for all companies, according to the study by the consulting firm Geoscape and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

There are an estimated 4.07 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the country, up 57 percent since 2007, the study said.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Peruvian entrepreneur has translated the popular Birchbox concept, a New York-based beauty subscription service, to the Peruvian market.

Inspired by the original e-commerce platform, which encourages beauty buffs to try new products and review them online, Pinallos Delgado launched

Peruvian women can try new products via a ‘discovery’ subscription as well as purchase beauty products and join an online community to share reviews.

“We wanted to come up with an idea that could work in Peru and the region, that was scalable and that could fit with our personal interests,” Delgado told the Financial Times.

DeluxeBox has now been trading for two-and-a-half years and boasts 10,000 customers and relationships with 90 beauty and personal care brands. The company, which was financed through savings and investment from Peru’s Wayra accelerator program, broke even for the first time last year.

Delgado is now considering expansion within South America and branching out into products for men as well as developing business intelligence for beauty companies based on the information collected from customers. “We have presented our start-up to investors in Colombia and Peru, and are evaluating and negotiating our second investment round,” she noted.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Entrepreneurial Advertising: The Future Of Marketing

Americans love entrepreneurs. The risk and drama of business keeps us watching shows like Shark Tank and putting innovators like Mark Zuckerberg and Seth Godin on high pedestals. We love the idea that anyone can turn an idea into an empire. We might adore pro athletes and gawk at celebrities. But we want to be entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurism is on the rise, across all industries. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, U.S. entrepreneurial activity grew this year at a rate faster than it has in two decades. Some people are leaving the comfort of corporate to start their own ventures, and the rate of U.S. freelancers has hit a record 34%.

Read full article

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.? Minority women.

It has never been a better time to be a female entrepreneur.

At least that’s what Carla Harris, chair of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), believes. “It’s the perfect storm of opportunity,” she says during a press briefing on 2012 data from the Survey of Business Owners.

This “perfect storm” is a combination of, among other forces, historically low interest rates, record amounts of cash in the U.S. economy, a growing presence of women on boards, and the rising numbers of women earning bachelors’ degrees.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

The next Silicon Valley is Latin America, says Gartner

Latin America is bound to make the most noise in innovation and digital business, according to IT research company Gartner.

"We are living the Latin America moment," said VP of research Patrick Meehan during the Gartner CIO & IT Executive Latin America Summit in Mexico City. He added that "no other region in the world" offers the same capacity to become the next IT world hub.

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These 36 Young Entrepreneur Teams Are Going to New York City to Pitch Their Business Plans in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge; Winner Will Take Home $25,000 in Cash & Prizes

NEW YORK, Sept. 10, 2015 -- Young entrepreneurs from Miami to Boston and Los Angeles and major cities in between will be in New York City to compete in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge – presented by the Citi Foundation– where the winner will receive a prize package valued at $25,000 in direct funding, scholarships and business support services.

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) will host the finals of the 10th annual Challenge at the AXA Event & Production Center in New York City on October 6, 2015.

All participating young entrepreneurs are listed below by region. Each business in the Challenge is a first or second place winner of NFTE's regional challenge in their area, or is one of the five top winners out of 20 recent NFTE Make Your Job BizCamps, a national program funded by the Citi Foundation as part of its Pathways to Progress initiative to promote career readiness.

Downey, CA  
Kenneth Huertas - A Touch of Eco – an environmentally-friendly mobile auto detailing service in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Fresno, CA
Omar Barriga - New Generations Teen Night Club - a safe and secure, alcohol and drug free nightclub for teens within the Fresno area.

Patrick Rogers & Faith Zavala - 4:13 Supply Co – a spiritually based clothing line inspired by the scripture Philippians 4:13.

Hayward, CA 
Samantha Faxon & Sharlyn McClendon - Your City Gold Card - a year-long, reusable discount card that supports local businesses, employs teens with part-time jobs, and helps raise funds for schools.

Lawndale, CA 
Crystal Sanchez - Guardian Locket – a fashionable security necklace disguised as a regular piece of jewelry, empowering women to contact local law enforcement when threatened by an attacker.

Los Angeles, CA 
Elijah Jobe - HoopDreamz  - an app that allows basketball players and fans to find recreation centers and parks in their area in order to meet up and play basketball.

San Jose, CA 
Cristina Lawson - Kinetic – a product which harnesses your kinetic energy as you walk or run and converts it to electricity to power your phone or electrical device.

Hartford, CT
Selma Ahmetovic & Selma Mustabasic - So Scentsational, LLC - Eco-friendly, hypoallergenic and sustainable candles that embody personality and creativity.

Newark, DE
Angelique Shepard - Paper Pic Designs- a design solution to customize notepads.

Coral Springs, FL
Jason Ramadan - Cliff Fall - an iOS game with a more personalized and user-friendly experience.

Plantation, FL 
Alyssa Brennan & Aviva Grimmett – BloodBand – a retail/manufacturing business that enlists laser technology to eliminate the need to prick oneself in order to monitor blood sugar levels.

Sunrise, FL 
Kevin Diniz - Easy Scholar - an app that allows students to find relevant scholarships.

Tucker, GA
Rohit Pellai - Reserve My Spot - an app which allows students to find and reserve parking spots and provides an extra layer of security for school officials.

Chicago, IL
Marcos Quiroz & Eduardo Reyes - Inventive Smoothies - a food truck selling healthy smoothies in the Chicago area.

Davon Smith - Level UP! - matches a student's Lexile score to an interest survey to help the student select interesting and engaging texts.

Lawrence, MA
Yoanna Rodriguez & Tamara Rodriguez - Star Athletes –  a professional videographer service dedicated to creating "highlight" videos for college athlete recruitment.

Baltimore, MD
Javon Gholston & Michael Heier, Jr. - Power To The PCB - an engineering tool design company dedicated to making more efficient work tools for those working in electronics.

Colton Ross - Kickies Cookies - artisanal caffeinated cookie business.

Ferguson, MO 
Destiny Davis - DestinTees Custom Tees & Apparel - a company that designs high-quality, customized T-shirts.

Jacob Tiemann - Sneaker Trade- an app which allows users to sell and trade shoes.

Armani Tomlinson - Keeja Custom Cases - an LLC business which provides custom iPhone cases.

Brooklyn, NY 
Hariella Lawson & Desiree Michel – TeenWork -a mobile application designed to give teenagers ideas, motivation and summer opportunities around and outside their communities based on their interests.

Jamaica, NY 
Alexandria Rodriguez – HealthyMe – a diet app dedicated to providing emotional and technical support as well as clinically-based dietary data for those trying to lose weight.

Queens, NY
Urbana Anam & Jannatul Rowshan - Urbanalifa Hijabs - customizable and fashionable Hijabs for Muslim women looking to reveal their sense of style while maintaining their religious modesty.

Yonkers, NY
Christie Medina – Tacitas - Gourmet Hispanic baked goods.

Painesville, OH  
Ryan Hyde - Ignited Innovations - concrete-based, environmentally friendly products to enhance the décor of your home and living space.

Joey Orosz – Embracelets - handmade bracelets promoting cause awareness and sold wholesale for fundraising events.

Philadelphia PA 
Shemar Coombs & Aissata Coulibaly - Rap-It-Up – a phone case with a built-in groove to allow for easy headphone storage.

Charleston, SC 
Caleb Milligan - Caleb Alexander: The Next Generation of Magic – an affordable, fresh and innovative magic show that appeals to today's 21st century audience.

Mt. Pleasant, SC 
Connor Simonson - Deep Fried Dyes - Professional string and dye jobs for lacrosse players: enhancing style and improving performance on the field.

Dallas, TX 
Emily Raney - Alloy Interp – a custom design jewelry company that utilizes various metals, beads, and even gum wrappers to help young girls express their individual styles.

Irving, TX 
Ashley Gonzalez & Roha Nehas - Beat The Heat Headwear - a head band containing a cooling-gel sewn into it that keeps your head cool during outdoor activities.

Alexandria, VA 
Ramsey Benzina & Jacob Katz - Jams Music Group - a music platform and management group geared to provide every aspiring musician with equal opportunity to create a career in music.

Washington, DC 
Justin Godby, William Leach – GetYourHeat – a distributor of exclusive, hard-to-attain shoes/sneakers in the DC area.

In addition, NFTE is giving these finalists their first big break with 60 seconds to sell their business idea to the world, in an online "elevator pitch."  Voting is open now through October 3 here:

The nominee who earns the most unique votes from the general public will receive an award of $2,500 toward advancing their education or getting their business off the ground.  The winner will also be announced at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Student photos, more detailed biographies and information about their businesses is available.

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship  
Since 1987, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) has taught and inspired more than 600,000 young people to pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses, and succeed in life. By providing entrepreneurship education programs relevant to the real world, NFTE empowers students to own their education and future success. NFTE has programs in 14 U.S. program offices and in 8 countries. To learn more visit, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @NFTE

About the Citi Foundation 
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit

SOURCE Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Latino Small Business Owners Faced Challenges and Opportunities in Securing Funding

NEW YORK (September 10, 2015) – Today Biz2Credit, the leading online platform for small business funding, released a study showing that Latino small business loan applications grew 18 percent, however, Latino business owners lag behind in the necessary factors needed to secure financing such as annual revenue, credit scores, age of business and operating expenses.

The study found that the average annual revenue for Latino-owned businesses was $68,540, trailing slightly behind the average annual revenue of $70,641 for non-Latino-owned businesses (though an improvement from the previous year). Average operating expenses were also significantly lower at $18,334, contrasted with $24,857 for non-Latino businesses. The average age of Latino businesses was younger at 22 months vs. 25 months for non-Latino businesses. Meanwhile, the average credit score for Latino-owned businesses applying for loans was 603, compared to 614 for all others.

“This year's study was interesting because we found that Latino businesses made gains in number of loan applications and certain industries saw higher growth, however, they still need to catch up to non-Latino businesses in many areas,” said Rohit Arora, chief executive officer, Biz2Credit. “It’s an exciting time because Latinos are one of the fastest growing populations in the U.S. with 43 percent growth since 2007. We believe that this population will soon be on par or surpass non-Latino businesses.” 
The Top 5 states for Latino-owned small business loan applications were: Texas (16.4%), California and Florida tied at (15.7%), New York (9.1%) and – for the first time – Georgia (3.0%). All five states represented 60% of the loan requests made by Latinos in the past year.

The top industries that grew the most in the past year were: Services (30.5%), which grew 5%; followed by Transportation and Warehousing (8.8%), which grew 3%.

For more information on the study and to view the infographic, please click here. 

About the Biz2Credit Latino Small Business Credit Study
Biz2Credit analyzed the financial performance of more than 1,000 Latino-owned businesses with less than 250 employees and less than $10 million in annual revenues from across the country that have been in operation for more than 1 year, as well as startups.

About Biz2Credit
Founded in 2007, Biz2Credit has arranged more than $1.2 billion in small business financing and is widely recognized as the #1 online credit resource for startup loans, lines of credit, equipment loans, working capital and other funding options in the U.S. Using the latest technology, Biz2Credit matches borrowers to financial institutions based on each company's unique profile -- completed in less than four minutes -- in a safe, efficient, price-transparent environment. Visit, follow on Twitter @Biz2Credit, and join on Facebook at See infographic here 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

U.S. sees big spike in black and Hispanic women entrepreneurs

On Wednesday, the National Women's Business Council released an analysis of preliminary Census data which showed there were nearly 10 million women-owned small businesses in the U.S. in 2012, an almost 22% increase from 2007. (The Census defines a woman-owned business as one where a woman owns 51% or more of the business equity of stock).

While men still own more businesses than women, women-owned businesses grew at a rate of four times that of male-owned businesses. In 2012, men owned nearly 15 million businesses.
Overall, women-owned businesses earned a total of $1.6 trillion between 2007 and 2012 and the vast majority (89.4%) were run by sole proprietors, meaning the only employee was the owner.

Read full article

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Latin America: Low-Income Millennials Present Big Market Opportunities

Hardly a day passes without a new article on how businesses are analyzing the needs, wants and spending trends of millennials. In the US alone, millennials (or Generation Y), those born between 1980 and 2000, represent 30 percent of the population. By 2025 they will be 75 percent of the workforce.The impact that millennials are starting to have on the global economy, the environment, and politics is enormous.

But “millennial mania” is dominated by studies, research and marketing efforts that focus on affluent individuals. Meanwhile, in Latin America and the Caribbean a market of 77 million low-income millennials goes almost unnoticed.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Sandra Diaz >

Sandra Diaz, Owner, Diaz & Co.

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Perseverance, curiosity, adaptability and ability to motivate others.

What inspired you to start your business?
People kept contacting me to advise them on developing a roadmap to market their products and services to U.S. Hispanics.

How did you finance it?
So far, from organic growth.

Does being Hispanic/Latina have any influence on your business?
It allows me to bring a personal point of view to client challenges in addition to the professional knowledge, which builds credibility.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
Prayer, engaging coaches and sharing with trusted peers to uncover new ways to tackle the issues.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Time management, especially trying to decide between good and best opportunities.

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
I would like to have a partner.

What was your childhood ambition?
In grade school, to be an Astronomer. In high school, to be a Fashion Designer. My parents were scientists and my mom also owned several fashion and textile businesses.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
My mom, for her perseverance and leadership.
The late Tere Zubizarreta, for pioneering the Hispanic/ multicultural marketing industry as a woman in the 70s.
Carlos Santiago from Santiago Solutions Group, for his analytical approach to driving growth from cultural and generational segments.

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Whatever works best with my commute schedule so that I do not have down time in between meetings.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
Moving from an apartment in Manhattan to a room in somebody else’s house in Brooklyn for four years to save on rent.

What is your favorite quote?
“I have had a lot of very expensive learning experiences, but I’ve never let them stop me from getting up in the morning and trying again.” Larry Levy, Co-Founder, Levy Restaurants; Chairman and CEO, The Levy Organization.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Not usually, but sometimes it feels lonely

Biggest mistake made?
Letting the tight timeline of a potential client dictate my way of communicating or doing business. And not giving people feedback before I decide to stop working with them.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes because I like to find ways to challenge the status-quo and am always learning new things.

About Diaz & Co. 
Diaz & Co. is a boutique strategy consulting firm that equips brands and retailers to grow business and reduce inefficiencies by catering to U.S. Hispanics while meeting the needs of mainstream shoppers at the same time. Our strategic solutions and training enable companies to maximize the Hispanic appeal of their mainstream initiatives while identifying if and how they should pursue Hispanic-specific strategies to address any offering, messaging and/or media gaps.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Guilbert Englebienne, Globant Founder

Guibert Englebienne tiene 48 años y nació en Mar del Plata.
Es ingeniero en sistemas.
@guibert y se define como: Outdoor sport lover, rockstar wannabe. Globant igniter, Endeavor evangelist.
En 2002 fundó Globant junto a sus amigos Martín Umaran, Martín Migoya, Néstor Nocetti.
En 2014 Globant comenzó a cotizar en el NYSE (GLOB). Tiene un market cap de US$ 750 millones y un precio de acción que ronda los US$ 22

Monday, June 29, 2015

Meet The Latino Entrepreneur Who Aims To Transform A Trillion Dollar Market

A few years ago, Edrizio De La Cruz had a great idea:  a better way for émigrés to send money back home by reducing the friction caused by middlemen (the incumbent service providers).  The idea catapulted the Dominican Republic-born Wharton grad into the higher echelons of the startup world, landing him onstage at Demo Day for Y-Combinator’s class of 2013.  

He then secured $3 million in funding, which — as my good friend Tiq Chapa at the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative has said– is one of the few real VC scores for Latino entrepreneurs “east of the Mississippi.” Regalii, his company, is based in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan, one of the largest hubs in the world for Dominican émigrés.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nation’s Top Entrepreneurs Of Color To Convene In New Orleans July 1-3 For 2nd Annual Powermoves Nola Conference

NEW ORLEANS (June 23, 2015) — PowerMoves.NOLA is convening the country’s premier entrepreneurs of color for its second annual national conference in New Orleans on July 1-3, 2015 to coincide with ESSENCE Festival® presented by Coca-Cola®. The three-day event is designed to connect nationally-sourced entrepreneurs with a preeminent network of advisors, experts, and investors. The conference advances PowerMoves.NOLA’s mission to increase the number of America’s venture-backed, minority-founded companies in high-tech and high-growth sectors. It is made possible through the generous support of Chevron as Founding Sponsor and Morgan Stanley as Presenting Sponsor.

“Entrepreneurs of color do not typically have access to deep pools of capital, and this event is about identifying the very best of this historically overlooked talent pool and connecting them to experienced investors. The entrepreneurs get unparalleled access, and the investors are exposed to attractive prospective investment opportunities at reasonable valuations,” said Earl Robinson, the president of PowerMoves.NOLA.

More than 50 highly-regarded investors and advisors and some 40 entrepreneurs will be in attendance. In addition to hand-selecting the nation’s most promising entrepreneurs of color, several invitation-only events ensure top-quality deal flow.

The conference will also include the culmination of the PowerUp Boot Camp for early-stage entrepreneurs of color. The intense program helps them develop viable brands, produce effective business models, and prepare for the Demo Day presentation to potential investors held at the conference on July 3.

For descriptions of all participating entrepreneurs, visit


Entergy Angel Pitch
This pitch will feature five early-stage entrepreneurs competing for a $25,000 cash prize.
July 2, 9AM - 10:30AM, Club XLIV in Champions Square (LaSalle St)

Morgan Stanley Series A Pitch
This pitch will feature five later-stage entrepreneurs competing for a $25,000 cash prize.
July 2, 11AM - 12:30PM, Club XLIV in Champions Square (LaSalle St)

PowerMoves Alumni Panel
This panel will feature former PowerMoves.NOLA Pitch and Demo Day participants as they discuss their experiences scaling their startups and raising capital as entrepreneurs of colors.
July 2, 2PM - 3:30PM, Club XLIV in Champions Square (LaSalle St)

Morgan Stanley FinTech Showcase
This showcase will feature five entrepreneurs representing the financial technology field present their business models to a select group of investors and industry business leaders.
July 3, 8:30AM - 10AM, Freeport-MacMoRan Building, 1615 Poydras Str, 23rd Floor

PowerUp Demo Day presented by IBERIABANK
Twenty early-stage tech entrepreneurs of color will culminate their 6-week boot camp at the PowerUp Demo Day where they will pitch for the chance to win a $15,000 cash prize.
July 3, 10AM - 11:30AM, Pan American Life Building, 601 Poydras St. -20th Floor - IBERIABANK Atrium

Big Break Power Pitch
Four consumer-focused startups founded by entrepreneurs of color will compete at the 2015 ESSENCE Festival® presented by Coca-Cola® for the chance to get their “Big Break.” The winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize and exposure to investors and business leaders. The Big Break Power Pitch will be moderated by Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisory at Morgan Stanley.
July 3, 1:30PM – 2:15PM, Center stage in the Ernst M. Morial Convention Center

More about the conference at

PowerMoves.NOLA is a national initiative to deploy innovative ideas, fresh approaches, and an overall commitment to equity and diversity as a growth strategy to address the generational obstacles that prevent minority entrepreneurship. Leveraging the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, resources, and culture of New Orleans, PowerMoves.NOLA’s mission is to increase the number of venture-backed minority-founded companies locally and nationally.

PowerMoves.NOLA is made possible through the generous support of its sponsors including Chevron as Founding Sponsor and Morgan Stanley as the Presenting Sponsor. Other major sponsors include Entergy, IBERIABANK, Liberty Bank, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and ESSENCE Festival® presented by Coca-Cola®.

In addition to the national conference, programs include City Ventures, PowerUp Boot Camps, and a fellowship.

City Ventures
City Ventures introduce regional and national startup talent to partner cities, highlight existing local entrepreneurial resources and ecosystems, and aid in the strategic positioning of those cities as regional hubs for high-growth and high-tech entrepreneurs of color. City Ventures kicked off with the activation of PowerMoves@Detroit sponsored by Morgan Stanley in April.  Co-hosted by Invest Detroit, PowerMoves@Detroit was a three-day event in which local and nationally recruited entrepreneurs of color participated in venture capital pitch competitions, vying for $120,000 in direct prizes and a chance to raise their visibility to other investors.

A short video on PowerMoves@Detroit can be viewed here:

PowerUp Boot Camp
PowerUp is an intense boot camp training for early-stage entrepreneurs of color to develop viable and fundable business models with advice from successful entrepreneur and investor mentors. The boot camp begins with a 6-week virtual program where companies attend interactive sessions covering specific entrepreneurship-related topics and pitch coaching. Participants are then brought together for 2-days of mentor-led workshops, peer learning and networking.

The Fellowship
The Fellowship, sponsored by Chevron, helps high-growth minority-led startups succeed by individually connecting them to executive, capital and technical assistance through a national network of advisors, mentors, experts and investors.  Selected Fellow received $25,000 in investment capital and free office space during their fellowship year the PowerMoves headquarters. Eligible startups commit to have a C-Level executive and be at 25% or more of their FTE employees living in the New Orleans for at least a year.

More at

Monday, June 22, 2015

La Placita offers testing ground for Hispanic entrepreneurs

The maker movement is on the rise in Cleveland, and a new effort aims to capture that entrepreneurial spirit in the Hispanic community clustered in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood.

Last month, La Placita at West 25th and Clark premiered its first-ever open-air market, showcasing 30 eclectic local makers and food purveyors. Hundreds came out to experience the blend of rich culture and unique businesses.

Read full article

Thursday, June 18, 2015

43 lessons growing from $0 to $1+ million in revenue, twice

I realized the other day that we’ve grown from $0 to $1 million with two separate products (HelloSign and HelloFax). This happened a long time ago, but I was recently reflecting on the lessons.

I found a lot of growth truisms to be false. We’ve learned a lot. Some lessons were painfully won, which is why I may sound strongly opinionated about them. They also may be slanted towards B2B products, but I wouldn’t discount them if you’re not in that space.

Read full article

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Intel launches investment fund for minority, women-led firms

SANTA CLARA, California (AP) — Intel is launching a $125 million investment fund for technology startups led by women and minorities, a move the chipmaker says is aimed at changing the face of Silicon Valley.

The new fund, which is unusual for its focus on minority-led companies, is part of a broader effort that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has launched amid widespread criticism of a U.S. tech industry dominated by white male executives and investors.

Krzanich announced plans earlier this year to spend $300 million on diversity efforts and pledged to make Intel's workforce and executive ranks more closely resemble the U.S. workforce by 2020. Intel has previously said its workforce is about 24 percent female and 12 percent black and Hispanic. The U.S. workforce is about 47 percent women and 26 percent black and Hispanic.

Read full article

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

BCC to target Hispanic businesses with accelerator

Hispanic entrepreneurs could soon reap the benefits of a program in the Meadowlands specifically aimed at helping Latino startups.

Bergen Community College has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey to develop a start-up assistance program, or business accelerator, that both organizations believe would be the first in New Jersey aimed specifically at Latinos.

Read full article

Monday, May 18, 2015

Jersey City holds Hispanic Entrepreneur and Small Business Conference

Jersey City held its first Hispanic Entrepreneur and Small Business Conference at City Hall on Wednesday to offer services to those trying to start, grow or expand Jersey City small businesses.

Attendees heard from a number speakers and officials, including Carlos Medina, president of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; Maria Nieves, president and CEO of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce; and Chris Murphy, manager of Statewide Strategic Initiatives for the New Jersey Department of Labor.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jennica Carmona >

Jennica Carmona, Owner, Si Se Puede Productions, LLC

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Ambition, focus, organization, and determination.

What did inspire you to start your business?
The desire to create opportunities for myself as well  as for  my colleagues.

How did you finance it?
Fundraising events, grants, and personal investments.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Yes. We choose to work on projects with a Latino theme, and/or work with Latino and other minority groups during productions.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
You have to believe in yourself and what you are doing. Believe that what you are doing will have a powerful and positive impact on other people- that will give you strength to keep going!

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Raising the funds to complete the film, “Millie and the Lords”.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I wish we had a larger staff to help with administrative tasks. We are a group of three and currently
do it all on our own.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be a dancer.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
I admire filmmakers Spike Lee, Ava Duvernay and Leon Ichaso.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast- I have more energy at the beginning of the day!

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
It’s a huge time commitment and you can’t always be with your family as much as you would like to be. Your relationships may suffer. It takes a lot of patience and understanding on the part of your loved ones. So I sacrificed a lot of time with family and friends.

What is your favorite quote?
“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong”. (Ella Fitzgerald)

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Yes, very. Particularly as a Latina woman. There are so many traditional roles that you are cast in, so many expectations. It’s hard to stand up to that and say no, that’s not what I want, I want to do something different. It may not be right for you, but it is for me.  

Biggest mistake made?
I don’t believe in mistakes- I believe in “learning opportunities”. 

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes, I do. I started my own production company with my sister and husband. That takes a lot of effort and hard work, not everybody does that. We don’t have big names or a lot of money, but we have a lot of passion and are willing to work hard to achieve our goals. I also think that we are innovators in the sense that we are creating opportunities for other artists, and we inspire others to do the same.

About the Company
We are a small independent production company that produces film and theater. Our first film, “Millie and the Lords”, is currently touring the film festival circuit. We have received the best Feature Award from the Viva Latino Film festival as well as the Award of Excellence from The Rincon International Film Festival. 
Our current play, Elvira, is currently touring at various college and universities throughout the country. 
Movie site is :
Personal site is:
Facebook: Millie and the Lords

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