Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia tells you how to leave a secure job to launch your dream business

Jennifer Garcia is a multi-faceted business professional and leadership coach with a passion for empowering people and transforming businesses. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), a collaboration with Stanford University driving research, providing education, and cultivating a growing ecosystem of 800 scaled Latino and Latina entrepreneurs across the United States and Puerto Rico, who contribute nearly $4.9 billion in annual revenue. 

Jennifer Garcia, founder of Fluential Leadership. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

Jennifer is also the founder of Fluential Leadership, a business and leadership consulting firm focused on elevating small-to-medium-sized business performance through developing and executing growth strategies, recruitment, and retaining talent.

Cutting the ‘golden handcuffs’ to start business from zero 

Like many entrepreneurs, Jennifer was driven to start her own business out of a desire to pursue her passion and make an impact. For fourteen years, Jennifer worked in the finance industry and in a variety of leadership roles at Bloomberg, a global financial data provider. Through her work, she recognized her strength in developing people, transforming teams and departments. 

Her work at LBAN has also allowed her to continue elevating Latino businesses to the next level by creating growth pathways. Jennifer’s passion for helping women and Latino business owners and leaders grow is what ultimately led her to launching her dream project, Fluential Leadership in 2018. 

Jennifer wanted to make a greater impact and use her expertise as a leader and consulting coach to help others achieve their own career goals and dreams. 

“I positioned myself to equip business leaders and elevate small-to-medium-sized businesses, which are the driving force in the U.S. economy,” says Jennifer. “I have a unique perspective with a long corporate career, first-hand experience as a business owner and a birds-eye view supporting businesses through LBAN and Fluential Leadership. I’ve learned that there are systematic challenges and barriers for women in professional careers, and in entrepreneurship.”

Launching Fluential Leadership was the first step for Jennifer was both exciting and challenging. She was stepping into the unknown and leaving the comfort, certainty, and stability of her career. 

“I stepped away from a successful career, a secure job inclusive of all the benefits provided by a top-tier corporation. I often describe it as the cutting of ‘golden handcuffs’.  The challenge was going from zero to one, building from scratch, doing the role of a CEO, CMO, CFO, content writer, content deliverer, and much more,” says Jennifer. 

entrepreneur, leadership, mentor

Jennifer Garcia mentoring at an event. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

However, these initial challenges only helped to further fuel Jennifer’s passion and determination. Launching Fluential Leadership afforded her the opportunity to pursue something she was passionate about and build something that was all her own. She says there were many long days and nights, but she put in the time and effort, determined to make an impact and follow through on her dream. 

“Each of our journeys are unique, our entrepreneurial dreams or careers are personal, and so is the price that is paid for it,” she says. “It’s important for me to understand my ‘WHY’. Why am I doing this? Why am I putting in the long hours, why did I step away from a secure career?  It is that understanding that sustains me through the season.  And I do remember that seasons change.”

Owning your story

Like the changing seasons, life can be unpredictable. However, change is good and necessary for any progress or growth. Every entrepreneur is on their own personal journey and that journey becomes your story. Where you started from, how you worked to get to where you are today, where you stumbled and failed, and where you succeeded. 

“My story is my unique strength, and so is yours,” says Jennifer. “It is my story and experiences that shaped who I am today, how I approach business, and the lens in which I propel other business leaders. I grew up selling Christmas trees and firewood on the side of the road with my father, not around the dining room table discussing stocks and bonds or venture capital. The conversations and the work I do today with my kids, with women professionals and business owners, has the ability to empower and elevate leaders, creating exponential and generational impact.  Regardless of my starting line, my purpose is consistent and that is to move the needle for women, business leaders and the Latino community.” 

business, leadership, mentor, storytelling

“Don’t mute your story. Let the world know!” (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

For entrepreneurs, both established and aspiring, embrace your story and own it. Your story is what will set you apart from others. Your story is uniquely yours. 

“Don’t mute your story,” says Jennifer, “let the world know!” 

Writing your story, telling it to the world, and following through on your dreams can be daunting and even downright terrifying. But the alternative is never trying, never sharing, never starting. Jennifer took a chance on her dream, stepping away from the comfort of a corporate job to build something new. 

You might be interested: Employees are quitting in record numbers to start their own business

To the aspiring entrepreneurs looking for that final push, Jennifer says, “Go for it! Jump and grow wings on the way down. There will always be logical reasons why today is not a good time to start your business or aspire for the new career move.  I’ve found that opportunity doesn’t always present itself in opportune times and we just need to embrace it.  Learn what you can from the season.  To borrow a few lines from the powerful poem by William Arthur Ward:

Believe while others are doubting

Plan while others are playing

Begin while others are procrastinating

Work while others are wishing

Persist while others are quitting

Employees are quitting in record numbers to start their own business

You may have heard about the “Great Resignation” in recent months, in which more and more employees are leaving their jobs in a mass exodus, no longer satisfied with their work. The movement has been brought on by a variety of factors according to a survey released last week by 

The survey cited many concerns that have influenced employees in their decisions to leave their jobs including desire for better pay/benefits (44%), focus on health (42%), finding a job they are passionate about (41%), and the desire to work from home indefinitely (37%). Additionally, one-third (32%) of respondents expressed the desire to start their own businesses and be their own boss. 

the great resignation,

The Great Resignation: Why employees are quitting in record numbers. (Map photo created by on freepik)

Employees are reluctant to give up their “new normal”

COVID-19 pandemic completely changed our way of life and how we work and how work is valued. As we all adapted to the changes, many grew to enjoy the freedom of working from home

The pandemic showed us a different way of life, one where work could still be accomplished without being chained to a desk in a drab cubicle for eight hours a day. The flexibility of remote work is something many are not eager or willing to give up. Workers are prioritizing themselves more since the pandemic began, focusing on both their physical and mental health. As COVID-19 variants continue to spread, some worry about their health with the return to in-person work. Others are putting their mental health first, finding more joy in working from home. For these individuals, returning to the confinement of the office is a deal-breaker. From these concerns and desires, more and more employees have embraced The Great Resignation, finally putting themselves first and prioritizing their needs. 

In a Bloomberg article, one employee shared her story, in which a six-minute meeting drove her to quit her job. Portia Twidt, 33, said that this meeting was the last straw, “I had just had it,” she shared. 

The six-minute in-person meeting was one that could easily have been a remote video call. Instead, Twidt got dressed, left her two children at daycare, and drove to work just for a brief chat. 

In recent months, this scene has become more and more frequent as bosses attempt to return to the pre-pandemic “normal” and reign their workers back into the office. However, many employees are just not willing to go back to the inconvenient ways of years past. Remote work has allowed many to achieve a greater sense of work-life balance, spend more time with their families, and just feel better in general with the option of working from the comfort of their home, a park, or anywhere in the world. The Great Resignation has highlighted just how important these values are to employees who are now opting to quit their jobs rather than endure unsatisfactory conditions. 

remote work, working from home

Many are not willing to give up the comfort and convenience of remote work and their “new normal.” (Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash)

The Bloomberg article highlighted that a big part of the push to return to the office is due to the generational gap between bosses and employees. “There’s also the notion that some bosses, particularly those of a generation less familiar to remote work, are eager to regain tight control of their minions,” the article states. 

Twidt added, “They feel like we’re not working if they can’t see us. It’s a boomer power-play.”

Gen Z and millennials, being more tech-savvy and adaptable, are no longer interested in the old ways of working. In an article by CNBC, Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said, “Gen Z and millennials are the most mobile participants in the workforce for a number of reasons. They aren’t making as much money as their older, more senior counterparts, so they’re more eager to find higher-paid jobs, and they tend to be more technologically savvy, so they’re in a better position to take advantage of remote work opportunities.” 

“I want to be my own boss” 

Not only are younger employees interested in working from home indefinitely and increasing their pay and benefits, many are also turning toward entrepreneurship. 

According to the survey conducted by, one-third of respondents revealed they are interested in starting their own business with 62% of those stating they want to “be their own boss.” Additionally, 60% state they are interested in starting their own business to “pursue an idea they are passionate about.” 

The Great Resignation is inspiring more and more people to start their own businesses. Photo by – on freepik

The pandemic served as the perfect time for many aspiring entrepreneurs to work on making their dreams a reality. The survey found that 60% of aspiring business owners used their free time during the pandemic to educate themselves on starting a business. Others were able to use the stimulus money they received to help fund their ventures. 

Currently, the three main areas in which people are starting businesses is computer and information technology, retail, and personal care services. The key for many, is following their passion and doing something they love. 

industries new businesses


Startup consultant and small business expert Dennis Consorte, said on, “Many people believe that business ownership means setting your own hours and answering to no one. The truth is that for many business owners, a half-day is twelve hours, every single customer is your boss, and you have to hustle to stay afloat. However, by pursuing a passion, work won’t feel like work, but will instead give you purpose, which is far more valuable than the dollars earned.”

Consorte also highlighted the importance of having an online presence as a new business in 2021. The world has become increasingly more digital in the past year, so even “brick-and-mortar” shops need to consider their online presence as a crucial aspect of their business marketing. 

“New small business owners need to develop some kind of online presence. Social media is a good start, and a website will give you a lot more control over your database and marketing options” Consorte advised. 

You might be interested: Cloffice: The latest work-from-home trend to transform your workspace

It’s unlikely that we will ever return to the pre-pandemic “normal.” The Great Resignation has shown that people are not willing to go back to the old ways. Our new normal is now one that is digital, remote, and independent. Employees have learned to value their time and labor. Others are venturing out on their own to follow their dreams. The pandemic helped put it all into focus and re-prioritize what is important: freedom, health, and financial stability.

Top 5 Secrets to become a successful entrepreneur

These five secrets are not new; however, they are a good reminder of what it takes to move forward on your entrepreneurship journey. Some may practice these actions on and off, while others will turn them into habits. It’s those that ingrain these actions into their life that more often than not become successful entrepreneurs.

Top 5 Secrets to becoming a successful entrepreneur (Photo created by cookie_studio on freepik)

Every entrepreneur hopes that their venture will be successful. Many times, entrepreneurs are taking a big risk, leaving behind corporate jobs or traditional careers all for a dream. At Latinas in Business, we are always sharing the stories of our fellow entrepreneurs and leaders in our community, and time and time again we see overlap and similarities in their successful journeys.

While some believe the toughest part of launching a new business is arriving at a great idea, more often than not the toughest part is actually acting on your dreams. So many of us are guilty of this: we dream up a great idea only to put it on a shelf “for later” and forget about it. Then, “later” we discover someone else has developed our idea, acting on it where we didn’t, and they are now successful for it.

Action is what makes a successful entrepreneur. Constant and consistent movement is what sets successful ventures apart from the others.

“It’s critical once you believe in an idea that you make the step to some form of action right away in order to start building momentum towards your goals,” Jon Gillespie-Brown wrote in So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur. Many new entrepreneurs “talk a good game but do not follow through.”

The importance of action is not just pertinent to a business launch. Owners of established businesses may also be stopped in their tracks in the face of challenges posed by regulations, advances in technology or the overall economy. A successful entrepreneur is someone who, regardless of the challenge, keeps moving though not always forward.

A successful entrepreneur know that success is not always a linear upward progression and understand that obstacles arise. Those who are ultimately successful do not become paralyzed by challenges but instead find a way around them. They don’t sit still. They keep moving. They adapt.

Entrepreneurs who are unable or unwilling to continue to move forward or backward or seek an alternative route are destined to doom. Without movement of some sort the entrepreneur’s venture gets stuck and eventually fails. If you’re determined to make your venture a success that stands apart from the rest, then take these actions and ingrain them into your business building process.

Top 5 actions that make a successful entrepreneur

  1. Set goals.

Set goals to put your plans into focus. (Photo by Jess Bailey Designs from Pexels)

Entrepreneurs who know what they want and have set a course are more likely to accomplish their objectives. Goals act as the homing device for an entrepreneurs’ actions. At times they may need to take a step back or sideways to continue to move forward. Like the North Star guiding navigators, goals help entrepreneurs create a new course after making adjustments.

  1. Don’t fear failure.

Often people are taught that failing is bad. Yet without failure few entrepreneurs would know the way to success. Failure can be a powerful teacher. It shows you what needs changing, where you need to adapt and improve. Entrepreneurs seldom get it right the first time. But having the ability to keep moving by making adjustments improves the odds of success.

  1. Take risks.

Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec once wrote, “Accept that there is a chance you will fail to make the leap across a chasm, or the rock you are about to step on may crumble, but understand that the rewards outweigh the risks.”

Indeed there is truth to the saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Taking risks is the first step to making something happen. If you stay stagnant and still, nothing will change. Remember, success is achieved through action. 

  1. Don’t settle.

Some entrepreneurs may strike gold the first time out. Others require more time, energy and perhaps the alignment of some planets.

Don’t become discouraged. Keep moving. Evaluate your business plan and make necessary adjustments based on feedback and results. Sometimes moving past a large obstacle means going around it and not necessarily over it. If you want your venture to really be a success, don’t let yourself get stuck or settle for something that is only half of what you dreamed.

Seek a mentor to help you navigate the world of entrepreneurship. (Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels)

  1. Seek a mentor.

The entrepreneurs who freeze and do nothing when they come to their “moment of truth” may do so because they don’t know what to do next. The best way to achieve success is to work with someone who has already been down the same road. Plenty can go wrong in business but the right mentor can help an entrepreneur navigate the pitfalls and keep moving forward, improving the odds for success. Joining a community of like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs is a great way of connecting with people who have been there before, and can guide you through your journey.

This article was originally published in 2015. It has been updated for relevancy. 

Tech-entrepreneur Maria Camila creates Latiner, a dating app for Latinx singles 

After experiencing racial based rejection on mainstream dating platforms, Maria Camila created Latiner –the first Latina-created dating app for Latinx singles. 

Founded by Colombian born tech-entrepreneur, Maria Camila, Latiner is the first Latina-created dating app for Latinx and Hispanic singles. (Image courtesy of Latiner)

According to Pew Research Center, the Hispanic population in the U.S reached 60.6 million in 2019 and accounts for approximately 18% of the country’s total population. For tech-entrepreneur Maria Camila, this realization coupled with negative experiences on mainstream dating apps, prompted her to launch her first venture. 

“It hit me that we, as the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the U.S., should have one dating app built on our own. A dating app catering to whoever wants to date Latin American singles, considering that mainstream dating apps are mostly created and dominated by white people,” says Latiner founder, Maria Camila. “Latin American singles need a comfortable and efficient dating platform. That’s what inspired me to create Latiner.”

From bad dating experiences to an entrepreneurial opportunity 

Latiner, Maria Camila,

Latiner founder, Maria Camila. (Image courtesy of Latiner)

At 25 years old, Maria Camila is already making a name for herself as an entrepreneur. Born and raised in Bogotá-Colombia she studied business administration at Fundacion Universitaria Cafam. She now lives in San Francisco where she works at a logistics company and she is now also the founder of Latiner. 

The idea to create Latiner came to Maria in January of 2020, after many unpleasant and disappointing experiences on mainstream dating apps. 

“When I first came to the U.S. 2 years ago, I felt lonely, kinda hoping I could find a boyfriend to be around,” Maria says. 

Maria’s friends in the U.S. set her up on many blind dates but most ended the same way. “Some of them turned me down because of racial differences, while others said they were afraid of the ‘Latina temper’,” explains Maria. 

Then Maria began her own online dating journey and learned first-hand how racists people could be when it came to dating. 

“I kept coming across profiles stating ‘Whites Only’,” she says. “As a Latina, it does take an emotional toll when people turn you down constantly, simply because you’re not their dating preference, not to mention the colossal waste of time swiping the wrong one on a wrong app.”

Latiner, Latinx singles, dating app

Latiner is changing the game as the first Latina-created dating app made specifically for Latinx singles. (Image courtesy Latiner)

These experiences prompted Maria to do something to change the game for Latinx singles. She began discussing the idea of a Latinx dating app with friends in the IT industry. Soon she persuaded them to join her team and together they successfully developed the app in 3 months. 

“The key to success is to start before you are ready” 

Before launching Latiner, Maria did not have any experience or educational background in technology. Everything was new. She didn’t feel “ready” to start, but she had an idea that she believed in and so she sought the right people to help her make her vision a reality. 

Latiner, Maria Camila

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. The key to success is to start before you are ready.” (Image courtesy of Latiner)

“All I had was an idea of creating a dating app for Latino community,” she says. “But I had a bunch of friends who worked in the technology industry, and some of them were app developers. I told them about my idea as well as the prospect of Latino online dating market. They thought it was awesome, and they wanted to work together with me to develop the app.” 

When thinking back on her process, Maria recalls something she once heard from Steve Jobs about creativity. 

“He said creativity was just connecting things. People who were creative meant they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. In my case, I connected my unhappy online dating experiences with what I could do to make Latino singles feel comfortable while dating online, and I came up with an idea of making a dating app for ourselves,” Maria says. “In a word, you should know your community very well, know what they need, and you have to be creative and initiative to do something about that.”

You might be interested: 8 Steps to launching a tech startup

Through her experiences as a new entrepreneur, Maria has learned that anything is possible. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” she says. “Be brave. Every single woman, regardless of ethnicity, race, age, or whatever you think might hold you back, has the right to make her own choice. The key to success is to start before you are ready, nothing will work unless you do.”


Parallel18 seeking startups for acceleration program: Apply now!

Parallel18 is a top-level, performance-driven international startup program with a social mission: offering entrepreneurs from all over the world access to high-quality business training, funding, and networks to help them scale globally while working to position Puerto Rico as a unique hub for innovative businesses and technology. 


Parallel18 (Image via P18 Impact Report)

Interested in taking your startup to the next level?

Parallel18 is calling for startups to join Gen.9 of their international acceleration program. Applications for the next cohort are open now through May 10th. Interested startups can access the application here. Gen.9 cohort will start in August 2021 and will end in December 2021. 

parallel18, startups

Parallel18 is calling for startups!

Parallel18 is committed to making Gen.9 their most diverse generation yet and they are especially interested in supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs around the globe. Since Gen.5, female founders in P18 amount to no less than 42% of each cohort. Additionally, 61% of P18’s graduates are Latinos and 33% of their Matching Fund investments have been in female-led companies.

Chosen companies accepted into the cohort will have the opportunity to access a network of investors, business partners and contacts who work closely with entrepreneurs to tackle every key aspect of the company’s needs. In addition, they will receive a grant of US $40,000 – equity free – consulting and support during the 20-week program. Participating companies will also have access to the entire parallel18 community composed of the program alumni, a broad network of mentors, corporate clients and investors.

What parallel18 will provide for #P18Startups

parallel18, startups

What parallel18 can offer you. (Image via P18 Impact Report)

  • Funding: US $40K grant (NO EQUITY)
  • Curated network of active investors
  • Connections to multinationals, so they can generate business relationships that can help you scale.
  • Acceleration like no other: parallel18’s program offers amazing mentorship, and the team is always hands-on, helping startups boost their growth. 
  • Because P18 believes in them: they created a follow-on matching fund to invest in their startups. P18Ventures offers the opportunity to apply for US $75K as an investment in your company. P18 has already invested in 24 of their alumni. 
  • Perks for all: P18 works hard to have access to discounts on the services you need to get things going.

What parallel18 is looking for from startups


Parallel18 cohort members.(Image via P18 Impact Report)

  • Traction: startups that already have sales or users that are willing to pay for their product are better served by P18’s program
  • Scalability: companies that have a product that can easily adapt to other markets
  • Early-stage startups: startups that have been operating for 3 years or less
  • Be able to participate in P18’s blended format: selected startups will have to come to Puerto Rico to open their commercial bank accounts. They can also be asked to come to the Island for specific opportunities. All of this can be subject to change depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic keeps developing. 
  • Have a plan for your performance in Puerto Rico: this includes hiring, acquiring customers, among others

You might be interested: 7 Tips startups and entrepreneurs should consider to avoid going down


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Still need more convincing? Parallel18 has worked with more than 200 companies from more than 10 diverse countries. So far, their alumni have raised US $126M in investment after finishing their program and P18’s team is focused on providing the best opportunities to ALL founders. 

If you think your startup would be the right first for parallel18’s program, then Apply Now! Deadline: May 10th, 2021.

Key Insights from the 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report 

The 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report released by Stanford Graduate School of Business in collaboration with the Latino Business Action Network reveals that Latino-owned businesses are becoming the fastest growing segment of the U.S. small business ecosystem. 

The New Latino Entrepreneur  

Data over the years have expanded the narrative on the average profile of all Latino business owners: they are more highly educated than the general U.S. Latino population, have higher homeownership rates relative to their wageworking counterparts, and in general, generate greater personal income, representing a path to upward mobility and community wealth. 

Latinos are starting businesses at a faster rate than the national average across almost all industries.

According to the 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report, the number of Latino-owned businesses has grown 34% over the last 10 years compared to just 1% for all other small businesses. Were it not for the growth in the number of Latino-owned firms, the total number of small businesses in the U.S. would actually have declined between 2007 and 2012.

Between the years 2012 to 2017, the number of employer Latino-owned businesses (LOBs) grew by 14%, over twice the U.S. average of 6%. Additionally, the number of employer LOBs grew across 44 out of 50 U.S. states, and grew at a faster rate than the national industry average across 13 of the 15 industry sectors that include a substantial number (over 1,000) of employer LOBs. Among these industries, the growth rate is highest in the following industries: 1) Construction, 2) Finance and Insurance, 3) Transportation and Warehousing, 4) Real Estate.

Latino-owned employer businesses are growing revenues at a faster rate than White-owned employer businesses. Over the past two years, Latino-owned firms grew revenues an average of 25% per year while White-owned businesses (WOB) revenue grew at 19%.

In pre-pandemic times, the roughly 400,000 Latino-owned employer businesses generated nearly $500 billion in annual revenue and employed 3.4 million people.

Latino-owned employer businesses are significantly less likely than White-owned employer businesses to have loan applications approved by national banks, despite reporting strong metrics on a variety of key lending criteria. 

Only 20% of LOBs that applied for national bank loans over $100,000 obtained funding, compared to 50% of WOBs. Considering only scaled firms (annual revenues greater than $1 million) requesting a similar size loan, only 29% of Latino-owned businesses were approved, compared to 76% for WOBs. If loans of all sizes are considered, 51% of LOBs were approved for all or most of their loans requested from national banks, compared to 77% of WOBs. Importantly, after controlling for business performance measures, the odds of loan approval from national banks are 60% lower for Latinos. Explored below are some key areas business performance measures from the report: 

  • Credit: Latinos who own employer businesses are no more likely to have high credit risk than their White counterparts. Additionally, when considering credit performance, among the most credit vulnerable business owners (e.g., undocumented and microbusiness owners) the default rates are no higher than those among non-Latinos. 
  • Profitability: While WOBs are more likely to operate profitably than LOBs, three quarters of all LOBs report breaking even or generating profit in the last 12 months — a similar rate relative to WOBs. This is despite the impact of the coronavirus generating greater losses than in previous years. 
  • Liquidity: LOBs and WOBs report comparable liquidity with 52% of LOBs and 55% of WOBs reporting they have ample liquidity to operate without the need for credit. 
  • Business age: Given the recent booming growth in the number of Latino-owned businesses, it follows that LOBs are younger than WOBs. On average, LOBs are 10 years old while WOBs are 14 years old. The median age for both is 12 years.

Scaled Latino-owned employer businesses are more likely to seek and receive funding from sources that expose them to more personal financial risk compared to White-owned employer businesses. 

After accounting for application rates, the survey data showed that the top sources of funding (over $100,000) with the highest approval rates for scaled LOBs include: 1) Personal or business lines of credit (51%),i 2) Personal/family savings (43%), 3) Business credit card(s) (40%), 4) Personal/family home equity loan (37%). On the other hand, the top sources for scaled WOBs include: 1) Business loans from national banks (76%), 2) Business loans from local or community banks (45%), 3) Private equity (36%), 4) Personal/family home equity loan (34%). 

Latino-owned employer businesses that participate in formal business organizations (e.g., chambers of commerce and trade associations) are more likely to experience funding success. 

LOBs that leverage formal business organizational networks are more than twice as likely to experience funding success as those that did not engage in any networking activities (63% versus 28%). The report’s data shows that businesses that leverage organizational and personal networks are more likely to come in contact with capital providers, which may provide opportunities to build the relationships needed to facilitate funding requests.

Pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, specifically Latinas  

Much of the growth in the number of new businesses among Latinos has been driven by women. Latinas represent 40% of all Latino business owners and the number of Latina-led employer firms has grown 20% within the last five-year period of data available. As part of the gender wage gap, Latinas earn 54 cents on the dollar relative to White non-Latino men, trailing women of all other racial and ethnic backgrounds, which might be one of the driving factors leading to Latinas exiting the formal labor market to start their own businesses.

You might be interested: It will take two centuries for the gender wage gap to close for Latinas if we do nothing

However, despite Latinas representing a large number of LOBs, they have been the most impacted negatively by the pandemic.

Source: 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report

Data shows that twice as many Latina-led companies experienced closure compared to Latino-led businesses (30% versus 16%). Layoffs were also higher for Latina-led companies (17% versus 12%). This gender gap holds among WOBs as well. The difference in industry distribution by gender does not fully explain the gap in business closure by industry. The data reveals some differences in having cash on hand. 

Source: 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report

Only about 1 in 10 Latina-owned businesses have enough cash on hand to survive beyond 6 months compared to 2 in 10 Latino-owned businesses. This gap is less pronounced for WOBs. In addition, working from home is also more challenging for Latina-led businesses. Only 20% report that the majority of their employees can work remotely, compared to 34% of Latino-led and 48% of White-male-led companies.

The 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship report reveals that while Latino-led businesses are clearly crucial to the U.S. small business ecosystem, there is still much work to be done to ensure that Latino entrepreneurs are awarded the same opportunities as White entrepreneurs. Latino-led businesses have also faced greater hardships in the past year due to the pandemic and future economic recovery efforts will need to include greater support and aid to minority business owners going forward.

Innovative attitude: the 7 keys to becoming an innovative entrepreneur

Take your business venture to the next level by embracing the innovative attitude and becoming a successful, innovative entrepreneur.  

In the 21st century we live in an increasingly competitive and constantly moving market; the challenge of any successful venture is to be able to position itself in that context. As consumers we are more demanding, we want the best, in the shortest possible time, and at the lowest possible price. Technology and social media have determined new work standards and those who cannot rise to those standards run the risk of being left out of the competition.

innovative entrepreneur

Daniela De Lucia, Certified Strategic Coach, entrepreneur in personal and professional development, and personal branding specialist. 

Today, as much as it hurts us to say it: entrepreneurs who do a bad job will not even be able to start; entrepreneurs who do a good job will go out of business; entrepreneurs who do a very good job will get mediocre results; entrepreneurs who do excellent work will get very good results. Only entrepreneurs who do extraordinary work will obtain excellent results that will lead to success.

How does one become an extraordinary entrepreneur? The answer is innovation. Innovation results in extraordinary products or services that enable us to achieve success in the market today.

In the 21st century, resistance to change is not an option, every entrepreneur must develop their attitude and innovative capacity to meet the demands and changes of the market.

We could say then that innovation is one of the consequences of raising work standards towards the extraordinary, which implies finding and offering solutions out of the ordinary.

Just as there is the entrepreneurial attitude as a great umbrella that frames the skills of an entrepreneur, within it there is the innovative attitude. The innovative attitude is a basic characteristic of every entrepreneur, but the degree of intensity varies in each case.

There are no innovative ventures, only innovative people. If you want to take the next step in your business by innovating or want to create an innovative business, stop focusing on market opportunities and begin to focus on developing the skills to be ready to detect the needs in a new reality and have the ability to create something to satisfy them.

Innovative people take the pre-existing and redesign it with the goal of improving it, or in some cases create something entirely new. Innovation results in tools created by human ingenuity to improve the quality of life for millions of people.

There would be no Apple without Steve Jobs; there wouldn’t be a Tesla without Elon Musk; There would be no Amazon without Jeff Bezos. But what is even more important is that not all these companies would exist without customers who love their products and services. So these innovative geniuses understood the needs of their customers and offered innovative solutions. The key then is not only innovation, but finding and offering an innovative solution aimed at meeting the needs of people–of many, many people.

The 7 keys to becoming an innovative entrepreneur

Always look forward and up

Innovation is highly related to continuous improvement. Innovative people don’t settle for what’s out there, they always want to go for a little more.

Constant fighters of “It was always done like this” seek change to improve standards in their results, and thus deliver more efficient solutions to the market. Innovators are fine, but they want MORE, and move up and forward. That is why innovators are often portrayed as positive and somewhat restless people. Having a positive attitude is essential for any area of ​​life and any business. In order to innovate, it is necessary to not only have a positive attitude, but a constant attitude of personal and professional improvement that spreads to the business. Wanting to grow and improve is then almost more important than having a positive attitude to innovate.

Innovators are Mad Hatters

Most people do not even dare to dream something if they do not know how to achieve it. In many of my inquiries I ask questions such as: Would you like your business to expand throughout the country? And the most common answer is “I don’t know, I can’t even imagine it, I wouldn’t know HOW to do it.” I call this “the tyranny of the HOW”. It happens when we let not knowing how to do something limit our creative capacity. We let uncertainty and the lack of concrete answers limit our ability to dream and create a new reality from it. Innovative people ask the HOW at the end of the process and not at the beginning. When we really want something, we find all the Hows along the way, when we walk.

The right questions to foster our innovative spirit are: Why? Why not? What if …? What would happen if…?

Every great invention was first a great dream of someone who dared to dream and fantasize big.

The mad hatter in the book Alice in Wonderland says, “Sometimes I think six impossible things before breakfast”, this is an exercise that encourages our creativity, awakens our dreaming spirit and leads us to start the day thinking differently.

Innovative entrepreneurs are futuristic

Creative personalities are often confused with innovative ones. Creative people have the ability to create new realities, they have many ideas, flexibility in their approach; but an innovative person has something else, which is that they are seekers of change whose gaze is oriented to the future with the aim of finding and providing solutions to society. While the creative person may be left alone in the present and create a wonderful piece of art or isolated idea, the innovator goes much further. The innovator has a vision and purpose for change; and seeks to disrupt entire industries and its creations can impact future generations. Sustainability and innovation are highly related.

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Innovators play devil’s advocates

Innovative entrepreneurs often have the attitude of “Devil’s Advocate.” They go against the established and always look at a reality from different perspectives. “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect,” says Mark Twain. If we want to innovate, if we want to achieve something different, we must lead ourselves to think differently and question what is established. It is useless to see reality and think like most when we want to create something new. It is for this reason that the most diverse work teams are the most effective when it comes to innovating. We are not used to dissent, they taught us that good work teams are those in which the members are all the same and agree on everything. In the twentieth century school, few were the brave who dared to raise their hands to say that they did not agree with the teacher or that they had not understood the explanation. The reality is that it was not well seen to interrupt and much less to disagree on something. Some of us have even been punished for it. 

We are trained to think and work in “series” in the Fordist style, it is up to us to promote our innovative attitude because perhaps it does not come naturally to us. To foster an innovative spirit then we must take ourselves to different places, talk with people who think differently from us, and above all, question what is established. The status quo is what we must challenge to innovate. Highly innovative people are curious, dreamy, and tend to question what other people accept without even thinking that there may be the possibility of change.

Innovative entrepreneurs are attentive servers

Innovation is not fun, it is not creativity, it is having an eye on today’s society to understand it better than anyone else and create solutions that increase their well-being, comfort, or even happiness.

Far from being scientists locked up in their offices, innovators have to go out into the world in order to innovate. The first mistake an entrepreneur who wants to innovate makes is to focus on their own needs instead of paying attention to the needs of others. The second mistake is paying attention to the needs of a small group of people, generally loved ones, family & friends; which is almost the same as looking at your own needs. The successful innovative entrepreneur focuses on the macro, on society and the plurality of needs, and above all, on the contribution that their product / service will make in their lives.

Innovative people are very observant and attentive to details and how others behave: from their emotions and motivations, to their most basic needs. Empathy is a fundamental tool to understand how to devise solutions to improve the quality of life. This ability is achieved by observing and listening to the client, or future client, putting their needs above ours first.

Innovators are gurus

They say that the guru is that person who makes us see simple truths that we could not see for ourselves. Innovators do something similar, in general, when we see something innovative that improves our life we ​​think: Why didn’t I think of it? The simpler and user-friendly a product is, the more innovative it is. One of the world’s leading innovators Elon Musk says, “If you need an instruction manual, it’s already broken.”

The innovative attitude is characterized by the simplicity in the search for solutions that is reflected in the final product or service. Innovation simplifies life, never complicates it. To innovate, the key is to stop thinking about “twisted” ideas and start looking for obvious solutions that until now seemed impossible to satisfy.

Humility is another of the characteristics of great innovators, it allows them to have an attitude of eternal learners where they always find the place to improve and learn something new. Who doubts nothing, knows nothing and does not allow themselves to grow. The flexibility, simplicity and humility of the innovative entrepreneur gives them the necessary openness to discover new opportunities, receive constructive opinions about their work and as a consequence grow a little more every day.

Innovators just do it

Many people have ideas, but there are few who bring those ideas to the plane of reality. What differentiates innovative entrepreneurs is that they make, prototype, and test their ideas in the marketplace. Doing, learning, and redoing is part of the innovation implementation process. The innovative attitude is a constant exploration of opportunities in thinking, and above all, in doing. The innovator makes his way by walking and builds his new reality at each step. Opportunities and inspiration arise from doing, and not from waiting for it to happen.

This article was originally written in Spanish by Daniela De Lucia. Translated for Latinas in Business by Victoria Arena. 

About the author: Daniela De Lucia holds a Cum Laudae Degree in Public and Institutional Relations and Postgraduate Degree in Neuro Linguistic Programming and Coaching from Austral University. She is a Certified Strategic Coach with Tony Robbins (Robbins Madanes Trained Coach), entrepreneur in personal and professional development, personal branding specialist, and communicator on Instagram with a community of more than 100k followers.

Hello Alice

Say ‘Hello Alice’ to the platform that is opening doors for small businesses and new entrepreneurs

Every entrepreneur is familiar with the struggle of getting started. A new idea takes hold of you and you start making big plans and getting goals, only to find that many doors are closed to you or you lack vital resources. This is what Hello Alice is working to change. Co-founded in 2017 by Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz, Hello Alice is a free multi-channel platform powered by machine learning, to guide business owners by providing access to funding, networks, and services.

Embracing failure on the path to entrepreneurship

Carolyn Rodz, CEO and Co-founder of Hello Alice (photo courtesy Carolyn Rodz)

CEO and co-founder, Carolyn Rodz, knows first hand what it’s like to struggle with a first-time venture. After a long career in investment banking, she make the decision to transition into entrepreneurship. She describes it as a “long, hard, expensive” transition.

“Hello Alice is what I wish I had when I started by first business 15 years ago,” says Carolyn.

Her first venture was a failed company, and she learned a lot from it. She embraces the failure because it taught her how to do better the next time. It also drove her passion for helping small businesses grow and achieve success.

“I’ve made so many mistakes,” she says. “In hindsight, I wish I would have been more transparent about being small, and asking for help. With my first business I always tried to act like a much bigger company than I was, and I’m convinced people could see right through me. If I had just sold the upside of working with a small, nimble company, I probably would have gotten so much further, and received much more support along the way.”

Carolyn’s second business venture was a success which she eventually sold. It was after this second venture that she felt doors finally started to open for her.

“With Hello Alice, our goal is to open those doors on Day 1 to put all entrepreneurs on an equal footing, giving them the knowledge, opportunities, and connections they need to thrive,” says Carolyn.

Hello Alice offers a unique experience by striping down barriers to access, but also keep the personalized experience that happens in closed, offline networks. The platform is a game changer for all entrepreneurs but especially those just getting started.

How Hello Alice is opening doors for all entrepreneurs

Hello Alice believes in business for all — by providing access to all owners, especially women, people of color, military-connected, the LGBTQ+ community, and persons with disabilities. Hello Alice exists to serve every American with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Hello Alice

“Our goal has always been to give every entrepreneur access to the resources they need to forge their own path, regardless of who they know or where they come from,” says Carolyn. “I think the fact that it’s so personal to me, and to all on our team for a variety of reasons, helps us keep the small business owners we serve front and center. It also keeps our team aligned and helps us act quickly — if we’re helping owners, we know we’re on the right path.”

Through a network of more than 200,000 owners in all 50 states and across the globe, Hello Alice is building the largest community of business owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase owner success rate. Hello Alice has partnered with enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions looking to serve small and medium business owners to ensure increased revenues and to provide the best possible experience for owners who want to start or grow their companies.

Carolyn at Hello Alice annual Circular Summit, a two day female focused entrepreneur event where 350 women & investors gather to network & learn. (Photo courtesy Carolyn Rodz)

Hello Alice’s machine learning provides crucial data to help each business with it’s individual needs. The platform provides a pathway for all entrepreneurs — prioritizing the needs of women, minorities, veterans, and other underrepresented business owners — to help them find knowledge, funding, networks, and services that will push their business to the next level.

“We do this by learning both who the business owner is, and the type of company they lead. These data points personalize the owner experience, but those aggregate trends also guide the broader small business ecosystem to funnel resources where they’re most needed,” explains Carolyn. “Companies utilize this aggregate data set to guide their sales, marketing and diversity goals, and to discover new, and better, ways to engage their target prospects, with the goal of creating lifelong loyal customers.”

Hello Alice is changing the game for entrepreneurs across the globe. Never before has it been so easy to access resources, funding, and networks.

“Mission matters”

The mission behind Hello Alice has always been on helping small businesses grow. Funding is no doubt of one of the most crucial and often needed aspects of launching a business. Recently, Hello Alice awarded 152 small businesses with life emergency grants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My most treasured experience so far has been notifying each grant recipient via a surprise Zoom call from the Hello Alice team. Some of these videos really got emotional!” says Carolyn. “We are most proud to say that 96% of recipients identify as part of the New Majority of small business owners. We went through 6 rounds of grants with 152 owners receiving funds. This pushes me to work even harder because I know the immense impact we are having on small businesses. You can read about each grant recipient here.”

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Hello Alice is all about helping fellow entrepreneurs get started on their path so we at Latinas In Business asked Carolyn for some words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.

Her first word of advice is, “Mission matters.” Having a solid and clear mission is key. “Hello Alice is the most mission-driven business I’ve ever led, and it’s the one company where there’s never been any confusion over why we do what we do. Our team has always been in lockstep when it comes to meeting our owners’ needs, and it builds an internal alignment that allows us to move quickly and make fast decisions. It also taught me the value of going big. We were going to grow fast or fail fast, but either way, I knew that with this company I was going to put it all on the table. Luckily, we grew fast, but the experience taught me that you can’t hesitate as an entrepreneur. We prioritize action because the small business owners we support need what we are building, and it taught me that no matter what business you’re in, there is no replacement for learning through implementation.”

Carolyn and Circular Summit attendees bonding on “adventure tracks” prior to the event (Photo courtesy Carolyn Rodz)

Second, “Follow your instincts. People will give you their opinions at every turn — some are worth listening to, and some are worth ignoring. The value you add as a leader is figuring out which are which. At the end of the day, you have to feel comfortable with the decisions you made for your business, and if you did what you thought was best at every turn, working in the input and feedback and all of the opinions of the smartest and most equipped people you can find, then at least you know you tried your best.”

Finally, Carolyn shares one of her favorite quotes to live by: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough” –Mae West

“I look at life as a journey to be lived fully. It takes the fear of failure away, and life becomes more about taking risks, trying new things, meeting interesting people, and the experiences that we create for ourselves and those around us. It pushes me to go bigger in everything I do, and to live in the moment. We’re a tiny spec in the game of life, but we each have the potential to do something meaningful.”

Perla Tamez with volunteers

Latina Serial Entrepreneur Perla Tamez shares lessons learned

Perla Tamez is a Latina serial entrepreneur, child speech pathologist assistant, and public speaker. For the last decade she has dedicated her life’s work to empowering others to unlock their truest potential. From her thriving outpatient pediatric clinics to her advocacy work for healthcare and children’s rights policies, Perla is a powerhouse of unstoppable drive. 

serial entrepreneur

Perla Tamez, National Speaker at 2020 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit (Latinas in Business)

Perla grew up in the small town of Hidalgo, Texas, where she learned at a young age to run toward her dreams. An overachiever in high school, Perla graduated with fifty-two college hours already under her belt and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, which allowed her to devote her passion to help children rehabilitate. Then at the age of just twenty-one Perla founded her first outpatient pediatric clinic, Dynamic Rehab Group, which over the past eleven years has grown into one of the largest providers in South Texas. 

Lessons learned from a serial entrepreneur 

Throughout her 12 years of business, Perla has had startups in 13 industries. She is a serial entrepreneur. She’s tried it all, from publishing a local magazine, owning a high-end furniture store, importing and exporting fruits and vegetables…the list goes on and on. 

Not all of her ventures have been successful, but Perla sees every experience–even the failures–as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

“I’ve had several business failures. Seven of my startups were not good deals, but the lessons I gained are invaluable and I continue to grow my expertise to help others not make the same mistakes,” says Perla. “A failure when accepted and turned into knowledge is gold.” 

After years of experience, and many ups and downs, Perla has learned from past mistakes and offers a few words of advice to other young business women aspiring to conquer their dreams. 

Her 3-step process is as follows: 

  1. Identify your goal: Having a clear goal is key. 
  2. Next, recognize your team: Those who support you will be the ones helping you reach your goals, so make sure you surround yourself with the right people.
  3. Finally, celebrate your success and accept constructive criticism.

Most importantly, Perla says, “Never give up and keep pushing.” 

Finding success and fulfillment in speech pathology 

Her ambitious, goal oriented mentality is what helped her find success in her passion as a child speech pathologist. 

In an interview with Authority Magazine, Perla recounted how as a teenager she often visited her mother’s adult daycare center. “During those visits, I noticed speech therapists working with elderly clients who experienced issues with their speech following traumatic brain injuries or severe strokes,” she said. Seeing them find their voices again was an amazing and uplifting experience that would later inspire her to pursue a career in speech pathology. 

Her rehabilitation clinic has helped thousands of children over the past decade to rehabilitate and progress in their language abilities. Child speech pathologists help children process and understand information, while also addressing other issues such as decreasing stuttering or improving articulation. Language is one of the major tools we use to express ourselves and connect with others and the work child speech pathologists do is often life-changing for children. For Perla, it has been incredibly inspiring to witness her patients reaching big life milestones. 

“My favorite anecdote is recently when one of our patients with Down Syndrome graduated from high school,” she shares. “He was our very first patient, 12 years ago. Seeing him graduate was a big success to our therapist and family. As his mom said, we were a  big part of his rehabilitation process.” 

Moments like these are the true markers of success for Perla. Having started multiple businesses in her 12 plus years as an entrepreneur, she has learned that success is not found in monetary numbers, but in the impact of her work. She couldn’t have imagined how many lives she would help when she took that leap of faith and launched her first startup straight out of college at 21, but all the obstacles and challenges have been worth it. 

Supporting Hispanic communities during Covid-19

In addition to her work in speech pathology, Perla’s passion for service extends to her work as the National Hub Director of Hispanic Star, leading 30 plus chapters of Latinos around the U.S., who are role models in their communities. 

Hispanic Star volunteers distributing essential products to communities in need (Photo courtesy of Perla Tamez)

Perla joined Hispanic Star because of her passion for supporting fellow Hispanics reach their own goals and dreams. 

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Hispanic Star volunteers (Photo courtesy of Perla Tamez)

“As a minority owned business, I support women and minorities. I have 99% Latina women in my company and as we support them, we grow in support from our community,” says Perla. 

At Hispanic Star, she is working to further amplify the voices of Hispanics. 

“Hispanics have to be seen, heard, and valued! This is our time to shine!” 

During Covid-19, the organization has been specifically working to help support Hispanic communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic in the U.S. 

In the past 3 months Hispanic Star has helped over 200,000 people and raised $150,000 to help people secure food and hygiene essentials and pay rent and utility bills.

These numbers will hopefully continue to grow with donations and volunteer support from corporations, community members, and leaders. 

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