entrepreneur (33)

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Startups with a Latino founder received just 2.1% of the nation’s venture capital in 2021, according to LatinxVC, a nonprofit focused on increasing venture capital investment. Accelerators for Hispanic entrepreneurs can provide opportunities to connect with other business leaders, investors and industry experts. READ MORE AT TAMPA BAY TIMES

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Even before Claire Risoli decided to open up her own restaurant, she knew she would call it Pocha. “Pocha was something that I was called growing up that I hated,” she said. “It means Americanized Mexican girl, and for me, it always made me feel like I wasn’t enough.”

Latinos like Risoli account for 52% of all new employer businesses, according to the 2022 Latino Donor Collaborative U.S. Latino GDP report. The study also measured U.S. Latinos’ contributions to the economy known as the gross domestic product and found that it was worth $2.8 trillion in 2020. READ MORE AT SPECTRUM NEWS 1

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Comcast RISE to Award $1 Million in Grants to Small Businesses Owned by Women and People of Color in Cook County

Eligible businesses can apply October 3-16 for a $10,000 grant; 100 recipients will be selected

CHICAGO (September 14, 2022) – Comcast today announced it will award $10,000 grants to 100 small businesses owned by women and people of color in Cook County through its Comcast RISE Investment Fund. Cook County is one of five locations selected for this new round of the grants program. Other locations include Miami, Oakland, Seattle and Washington D.C. Comcast will award a total of $1 million in grants in Cook County alone – $5 million across the five locations – in this round. This brings the total amount of Comcast RISE Investment Fund grants awarded to $21 million nationwide to date. This is the second time Comcast has opened the fund to Cook County businesses.

“The pandemic has affected businesses owned by women and people of color in Cook County and elsewhere exceptionally hard,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I encourage eligible businesses to apply for a grant. This money can help strengthen their position, especially as we emerge from the pandemic. “

“Women-owned businesses face a variety of challenges, including accessing funding,” said Women’s Business Development Center President and Chief Executive Officer, Emilia DiMenco. “These dollars will allow them to invest in their businesses and strengthen their financial position moving forward.”

“Hispanic-owned businesses face enormous barriers to success,” said Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer, Jaime di Paulo. “These dollars will allow them to invest in their people, their equipment and their technology, and help prepare them for the future.”

To help drive awareness of the program and provide additional support, training and mentorship, Comcast is awarding a total of $50,000 in grants to four Cook County community-based organizations, including the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, South East Chicago Commission, South Shore Chamber of Commerce and Women’s Business Development Center.

Comcast RISE also provides marketing and technology services

In addition to the Investment Fund, Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” provides the opportunity for small businesses owned by women and people of color in Comcast’s nationwide footprint to apply to receive one or more of the following services:

Marketing services: Comcast’s advertising sales division, Effectv, and its creative agency, Mnemonic, help recipients with marketing and media campaigns, including:
Media: Linear TV media campaigns that run over a 90-day period.
Creative production: Turnkey 30-second TV commercial production, plus a media strategy consultation and a 90-day linear TV media campaign.
Consultations: Digital audits by Ureeka, a go-to platform for small businesses looking to use their website and online marketing to acquire customers, in the form of Website Repair Reports and Search Engine Optimization Keyword reports to target website mechanics and effective organic marketing; and
Technology Makeovers: Technology upgrades from Comcast Business include computer equipment, as well as internet, voice and cybersecurity services for up to 12 months (taxes and other fees may apply).
Comcast RISE was formed in late 2020 to give small businesses owned by people of color the support and resources they need to not just survive but thrive. In November 2021, Comcast RISE announced a major expansion to all women-owned businesses. To date, more than 9,500 Comcast RISE awardees have been announced from 704 cities across 37 states and the program is on track to provide support to 13,000 small businesses by the end of 2022. Comcast RISE is part of Project UP, the company’s comprehensive 10-year, $1 billion initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities.

For more information and to apply, visit www.ComcastRISE.com. The Comcast RISE Investment Fund grant application is open from Oct 3-16 to Cook County businesses owned by women and people of color that have been in business three or more years with 1-25 employees. Check the site for more information about eligibility. Site visitors can also apply for the opportunity to receive marketing and technology services through Comcast RISE.

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The Suazo Business Center has jump-started about 5,000 Utah small businesses over the past two decades, about 93% of which are minority-owned. Two women have driven that success: the center's founder, Gladys Gonzalez, and its current president and CEO, Silvia Castro.

The women, both immigrants from South America, know firsthand the challenges first-generation immigrants face when it comes to "making it" in the U.S. They've used those experiences to provide culturally relevant, multilingual business advice and mentoring to entrepreneurs across the state. READ MORE AT KSL.COM

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Seven out of 10 Americans attribute the country’s economic growth to Latino population growth, reflecting that U.S. Hispanics have the highest workforce contribution rate (65.6 percent) and have started the most small businesses out of any other population group over the last decade.

There are significant areas where misconceptions about the Latino workforce can be corrected:

• More than 75 percent of Americans believe Latino immigrants have a lot to offer this country and are an economic boost (Asian, 87 percent; Black, 85 percent; White, 76 percent).
• Many non-Latinos also believe undocumented immigrants are taking jobs Americans depend on (Asian, 55 percent; White, 53 percent; Black, 49 percent), though undocumented immigrants make up only 13 percent of all Latinos in the United States.
• The view that Latinos are farmworkers is prevalent, even among Latinos, who believe half of Latinos fit that description. A commonly held misperception is that “farmworker” describes more Latinos than “entrepreneurial or business-minded,” despite U.S. Latinos creating the most small businesses in the country over the last 10 years. READ MORE AT LOS ANGELES BUSINESS JOURNAL

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Hispanic businesses are a growing powerhouse

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Latino-owned companies are growing at record rates and have a plethora of support to tap into. However, securing funding remains a challenge. There are an estimated 4.65 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the US, making them the fastest-growing segment of small businesses in the nation. According to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI), a research and education collaboration between Stanford University and the Latino Business Action Network, over the last 10 years, the number of Latino-owned businesses in the US has grown 44% compared to just 4% for all others. READ MORE AT THE NEW JERSEY BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies operating in 2010 were founded by immigrants or their children, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy — including some of the most well-known brands, from Apple and IBM to Disney and McDonald's. The companies noted had combined revenues of $4.2 trillion — more than the GDP of most countries.

The ability to embrace cultural perspectives is absolutely critical to the way we view the world. Speaking multiple languages and even using English as a secondary language is not a setback, it is your secret weapon. READ MORE AT ENTREPRENEUR

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Jefa-Owned (owned by a Latina Boss), a national visibility campaign under PepsiCo's Juntos Crecemos platform, calls upon Latinas in the food and beverage sector to apply for the Juntos Crecemos Hispanic Digital & Delivery Program, an eight-week personalized business building program.

To mark the launch, PepsiCo leaders joined Latina business owners for the Nasdaq Opening Bell Ceremony, where they unveiled the first-ever Jefa-Owned neon sign, designed by PepsiCo. READ MORE AT CISION

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Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) today welcomes 96 Black and Latino founders and CEOs to the 2022 cohort of the EY Entrepreneurs Access Network (EAN). A national business accelerator, EAN is a comprehensive, executive program designed to elevate emerging and established Black- and Latino-owned companies through access to resources, networks and one-on-one mentoring. This marks the second full cohort of EAN participants, after the program officially launched in January 2021. READ MORE AT CISION

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Everyone wants to be an Entrepreneur

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Applications for new businesses rose 20 percent last year, after languishing for a decade. Many newly minted founders attribute it to the pandemic.

“People have become disaffected with what they’re doing, and might as well do the thing they've been wanting to do for a while,” says Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan. Some people who were furloughed or laid off near the start of the pandemic became entrepreneurs out of necessity. Others took stock of their good-enough jobs and decided they could do something better. READ MORE AT WIRED

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With dramatic growth in the U.S. Hispanic population, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses is growing faster than in other ethnic groups. And Latino entrepreneurs are going far beyond the sterotypical blue-collar industries like restaruants, hospitality and construction.

A January report from Stanford University concluded that Latino-owned businesses with employees are more likely than their white-owned counterparts to be technology innovators. The study found that 19% of Latino-owned firms develop and sell a tech or software product, compared to 14% of white-owned firms. READ MORE AT GBH

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While Latino-owned businesses are growing at a much faster rate than any other business segment in the country, they continue to face greater barriers to financing and report lower than average revenue per company than white-owned companies, according to new data released last week.

On Friday (January 28), the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) released its seventh annual research report, State of Latino Entrepreneurship, exploring the impact, challenges, and opportunities of the fastest growing business segment in the U.S. economy. READ MORE AT POETS AND QUANTS

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The rise of remote work during the pandemic led several Silicon Valley venture capitalists to escape California, with its wildfires and high taxes. Miami, with a large Latino population, and Atlanta, with a large Black population, have both seen higher interest.

Data from Crunchbase compiled for Reuters showed startups with a Black or Hispanic founder got 3.5% of the record $311 billion U.S. venture funding in the year to Dec. 16, up from an average 2.5% in the previous five years.

Florida and Georgia were the only states with significant deal flow that showed an increase in the number of deals for Black and Latino companies. READ MORE AT WHBL

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There have been more new businesses formed so far this year than ever. Literally ever.

According to data from the US Census Bureau analyzed by the Economic Innovation Group, there were about 1.4m new startup applications filed with the government through 30 September 2021. That’s compared with 1.14m during the same period in 2020 and 987 thousand in 2019. Every year before had been significantly less. READ MORE AT THE GUARDIAN

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Latinos are a fast-growing, young segment of the U.S. population that’s also highly entrepreneurial, yet businesses that Latinos start often struggle to get the financing they need to grow and succeed.

These businesses are among the “most overlooked opportunities for investors,” the Boston-based Bain & Co. wrote in a report released earlier this month. READ MORE AT PENTA

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Program assists nearly 100 businesses in building financial capacity, securing federal loan assistance

CHICAGO (September 10, 2021) – CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Project, the largest transit investment in the agency’s history, today announced the milestone of securing $5 million in federal loans in 2020-2021 for local small businesses as part of the CTA Building Small Businesses (BSB) Program.

The BSB Program, launched in 2019, was developed to provide financial guidance to small businesses and other Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) by offering direct loan placement and other supports so they can demonstrate the up-front capital needed to compete on large-scale transportation construction and capital programs.

CTA provided technical and funding assistance to about 100 small businesses during 2020-2021, an incredibly unpredictable and unprecedented time for DBEs. In direct response to financial hardships brought on by the pandemic, the project expanded to include assistance to companies applying for federal CARES Act loans, helping secure $5 million for these businesses.

The program was created through a partnership between the CTA, RPM contractor Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC Chicago). The program consists of free capacity-building workshops for small businesses that are certified as DBEs or that are interested in becoming DBE-certified.

Unlike other programs, BSB offers both one on one financial capacity assessments and technical assistance, helping more minority businesses get through the impact of COVID-19 by securing PPP loans, or by teaching the businesses best practices that could help a small, minority-owned vendors build technical acumen and capacity to bid on future RPM or CTA contracting opportunities. Instrumental in providing these services through the program are Suzanne Arkle, CEO of Zann and Associates and Darrick Brown, President of ABF Consulting Group, both businesses contracted through Walsh-Fluor.

“CTA is proud to help small, minority-owned businesses with becoming better able to grow and compete for contracts on projects like the Red and Purple Modernization Project,” said CTA President Dorval Carter, Jr. “By removing barriers to opportunities, we’re investing in our communities and our cities, increasing economic equity in our city."

Here are some of the businesses’ stories on how CTA’s BSB program helped them secure funds, were awarded a contract to work on RPM Phase One and/or were able to take advantage of new business opportunities:

Allstate Concrete Cutting is an MBE/DBE-certified concrete cutting and coring business led by its owner, Mike Seay. In 2009, Seay purchased Allstate on the cusp of bankruptcy, with only one truck and two saws. Seay has grown the business to 14 trucks and 10 saws with about 15 employees over the past 12 years. Seay attended Walsh-Fluor’s Lunch and Learn series as part of the BSB Program, providing him with tools and resources to continue to grow his business successfully. Walsh-Fluor and CTA ultimately awarded Allstate a contract to work on RPM Phase One, providing concrete coring, concrete wall cutting and saw-cutting for the project.

AMS Elite Solutions is a WBE/DBE-certified construction hauling and material supplier company led by founder Julie Savitt. Savitt started AMS Elite Solutions in 2016 with only one truck, and has since grown her business to have 12 trucks and additional equipment. Interested in learning how to build financial capacity for the business, Savitt attended a BSB Program event where she received mentoring and the opportunity to network with industry professionals. Ultimately, she bid on and was awarded a RPM contact to provide ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­trucking and aggregate hauling services. ­Additionally, the BSB Program assisted Savitt in securing CARES Act funding for her business during the pandemic.

Paniagua Group is an MBE/DBE-certified contractor specializing in carpentry, demolition for interiors, construction clean up, painting and flooring. Founder Al Paniagua is a second-generation Latin-American, born from parents who immigrated to the United States from Mexico. Paniagua has been in business for 27 years, employing between 25 and 70 people at a time. Trying to grow his business over the years, he was denied loans because of work unpredictability and limited assets. Then the pandemic hit, and Paniagua feared it would be the end of his business. As a firm believer in networking, Paniagua explored the BSB Program, which mentored him and helped him obtain a 15-year, low-interest loan. BSB Program contacts also assisted him in securing CARES Act funding to help him through the pandemic, and facilitated an introduction to Walsh Construction’s healthcare division – an area of construction where Paniagua group continues to obtain work.

Trevor Development, Inc. is a 40-year-old MBE/DBE-certified contractor that specializes in residential interior construction and commercial build-outs. Its founder, Anthony Copeland, attended one of the BSB Program’s virtual workshops to build financial capacity, which provided him with a one-on-one session with a lender that assisted Trevor Development in securing funding through the CARES Act, helping the business through the pandemic.

Smelly Fresh LLC is a janitorial cleaning services company founded in 2014 by Steve James, a former attorney inspired by an incident when a cleaning crew failed to show up to his friend’s restaurant. He offered to clean the restaurant and his friend offered him a contract. James grew his business from seven to 95 clients, and his participation in the BSB program led to bidding on and being awarded a contract on the RPM project to clean project offices.

“Working with this team gave us a lot of confidence that we can do this work and have the capacity,” said Julie Savitt, President of AMS Elite Solutions. “I’m very thankful for the mentoring and support.”

Following the success of the Walsh-Fluor and RPM Phase One BSB Program, CTA decided to implement an authority-wide program which is now in the process of procuring a team to continue administering the program on the whole-system scale. 

The CTA BSB Program was also one of many diversity initiatives cited in the July 2021 Outstanding Public Transportation System Award and the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager Award, from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) – the highest honors in the North American public transportation industry. The system award recognizes the CTA’s unprecedented modernization and diversity and inclusion efforts in 2020 to provide service during the Covid-19 pandemic, which impacted every transit agency in the nation.

The CTA BSB Program was created through a partnership between the CTA, RPM contractor Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC Chicago). For more information about RPM Phase One’s SBE/DBE development efforts and opportunities, go to transitchicago.com/rpm/small-businesses.

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Tips for turning your hobby into a career

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So, if you’re committed to making your pastime a professional endeavour and prepared for all that entails, you might be wondering where to get started. Of course, there are various ways you could go about it, and the below is just one such method:

Start with a business plan

One of the best places to start if you’re trying to convert your hobby into a career is to come up with a solid business plan for your idea. READ MORE AT THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL

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Why Networking Matters… Still

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Networking. A word that can summon fear into even the most resilient of entrepreneurial hearts. However, little else can grow your business as powerfully as networking can.  At its core, networking is the process of building relationships. Over time, these relationships will reveal interesting and worthwhile opportunities for you. READ MORE AT BUSINESS2COMMUNITY

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White men now make up the minority of business owners in the United States, a shift driven by fast growth in women- and LatinX-owned businesses, and one that has profound implications for the country’s finance and innovation infrastructure.

LatinX owned businesses have been growing at a rate of two- to-four times the rate of the overall population since 2015, when Porras’s organization began surveying them. He estimates that there are 1 million net new LatinX-owned businesses created every five years. READ MORE AT FORBES

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