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networking on zoom

6 Tips for multicultural networking on Zoom in 2022 

How we define socializing “at work” and networking has changed drastically in the past two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Now, we’re all plugged into the digital realm. Most connections are made from our home offices over video rather than face-to-face. 

Since 2020, Zoom has become one of the fastest-growing apps of the pandemic. It is now the number one platform for businesses and professionals to connect and network, with meeting participants increasing by 2900 percent

While we may be used to it by now, many still find it challenging to successfully network on Zoom and other video conferencing platforms. Those who spent much of their professional career networking in person find that networking on Zoom is less personal, and connections feel superficial. It can also be more difficult to establish these connections in meetings and other virtual events when pressed by time. 

Networking on Zoom can add some barriers

Multicultural networking on Zoom is an additional challenge, adding in cultural differences, language barriers, and other factors complicated by virtual communication. Miscommunication and awkwardness are likely to occur online if individuals are not prepared. Some participants may feel left out or unwelcome in multicultural settings if they are in the minority or others do not include them in conversations. 

However, preparing for virtual multicultural networking on Zoom is not difficult. Below are some tips that will help you breeze through your next virtual meet-up and make those crucial connections!  

You might be interested: The future of work is hybrid – here are an expert’s recommendations

6 Tips for multicultural networking on Zoom 

Variety is the spice of life, which extends to our networks and professional circles as well! We need diversity in our networks, and a good network will naturally be diverse so learning how to navigate multicultural spaces is essential. Navigating these spaces online creates an additional challenge, but fear not—with these tips, you’ll be connecting virtually like a pro in no time. 

  1. Moving past miscommunication – Miscommunication happens. Especially online, it’s practically a given that something will get lost or misinterpreted at some point. Add in cultural differences, language barriers, and varied communication styles, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Or not. As long as you go in knowing that miscommunication is likely to happen, you can better navigate the situation if / when it occurs. Instead of assuming the worst, focus on thinking positively and presenting yourself as open and understanding. Others will feel more comfortable around you if they know you are willing to take the time and effort to understand them and work through communication issues. 
  2. Keep an open mind and avoid stereotypes – Stereotypes are ingrained in our society. Often, we don’t even realize we judge others based on these preconceived notions. However, we each need to work to dismantle these ideas. When entering a multicultural setting, keep an open mind. Get to know people as individuals rather than make assumptions about what they might be like based on stereotypes. 
  3. Start small – If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of networking with large groups over Zoom, try participating in smaller virtual events first. Especially with a multicultural group, it may be better to engage with fewer people to get to know each other and minimize the potential for miscommunication and other obstacles that arise in larger groups.
  4. Prep before the meet-up – If you’re nervous about going in blind to a meet-up, see a guest list available. If so, you can use this list to familiarize yourself with the others who will be in attendance. You take a few minutes to read their LinkedIn profiles or visit their businesses’ sites and use that info to better connect with them once you meet virtually. Depending on the nature of the meeting, this additional background information could help you curate questions or spark relevant conversation topics. 
  5. Take the initiative – Be an active participant. Whether you’re a total introvert or extremely outgoing, people will be drawn to you if they see you actively participating and attempting to engage with others. You don’t have to be the loudest in the (virtual) room, but your engagement will be appreciated. The more you participate, the more familiar you will become with others. You’ll definitely be remembered. In multicultural settings, the conversation may flow to cultural topics and personal cultural experiences. Being an active and engaged participant in these conversations will show your commitment to cultural inclusivity. Your connections will be more substantial from your active participation. 
  6. Follow-up beyond the first meeting – After connecting on Zoom, follow up! Since many feel rushed or disconnected in virtual meetings, adding cross-platform communication can help to solidify the tentative connections you’ve made. Follow them on social media, send them a personalized LinkedIn note or email, comment and share their content and continue to build that relationship beyond Zoom!lift-to-the-top

Now that you have some ideas on how to go about multicultural networking on Zoom, get more ideas on how to network during LIVE events with Latino bicultural audiences. Sign up for our newsletter and download our FREE e-booklet, “10 Steps to Happy Networking with Latino Bicultural Audiences”! 

 

You might be interested: Is working remotely a pain? Tips to be more comfortable and productive

 

 

 

From books to dating to DREAMERs, 6 apps by Latinas in tech to celebrate

To celebrate and bring attention to Latina entrepreneurs in tech, we’re sharing some awesome apps by Latinas. These apps bring innovation, connection, and problem-solving for their niche audiences, and each app is uniquely inspired by their Latina founder’s origins, experiences, and culture. 

Latinas in tech are still massively underrepresented. Currently, women comprise 28.8% of the U.S. tech workforce, but only 2% of those women are Latina, according to a 2020 study. There is a need to push for more Latinas in tech, especially in our digitally-focused and tech-driven age since the pandemic

Latina entrepreneurs bring valuable cultural knowledge and experiences that enrich products and companies. We need these women in tech! 

6 apps by Latina entrepreneurs 

apps by latinas

BookSloth 

BookSloth is an app for the young adult book community. Founded by 28-year-old Puerto Ricans Lincy Ayala and Xiomara Figueroa, the app connects users with other readers who share similar books tastes, allowing them to chat and discuss their favorite reads. BookSloth also improves the book discoverability process, allowing readers to discover books they might not hear about otherwise and providing a space for young adult readers to have meaningful discussions. Readers can also rate their favorite books, create recommendation lists, keep track of their To-Reads, and participate in reader challenges. 

On the inspiration behind the app, founder Xiomara Figueroa said, “After the hurricane [Maria], we didn’t have phone service or internet for weeks or electricity for months. As book lovers, we turned to books as an escape from our reality at the time and saw the importance of having books and the value of connecting with others through our love for reading.” 

apps by latinas

Typic  

Typic is a text design app founded in 2012 by Colombian entrepreneur Margarita Acosta and her two brothers, Steve Urrego and Julián Urrego. The app adds design text over photos and videos—something we may take for granted now, but which was not so common when they first created the app. 

“I remember we joked around expecting about 20 downloads and got 1,500 on the first day, and this number grew very quickly. We were getting downloads from all around the world!” said Margarita Acosta. 

In 2014, Typic was selected by Apple as one of the Best Apps of the year. Typic has expanded to include five apps: Typic, Typic 2, Typic Grid, Typic Kids, and Typic Baby. With new features, Typic does more than add text to images now. Users can draw, add stickers and animation, create stylized grids for their Instagram feeds, and more! 

Fabulous Cuentos y Cantos

Founded by the same sibling team as Typic, Fabulous Cuentos y Cantos is an audio player that brings fun original short musical stories for children to start conversations around relevant issues such as emotional learning, anger management, diversity, self-esteem, and compassion. The fun stories feature Latin American endangered species and help educate while having fun. 

This app is an excellent tool for parents to navigate important issues with children in an age-appropriate way. The app is also very Latin American-focused, perfect for families who want to share and teach their heritage with their children. 

apps by latinas

Caribu 

Born out of a need during the pandemic, Caribu is a virtual playdate app for children. Founded by 38-year-old Cuban American entrepreneur Maxeme Tuchman, Caribu allows kids to connect with trusted friends or family members and draw, play games, color, and read books while on video calls. 

“What we have been hearing from parents during the pandemic is that finally the child is engaged in a video call with grandma, which has never happened before. We create magical moments between different generations,” said founder Maxeme. 

In 2020, Caribu was named one of the Best of 2020 by Apple and Best Products of 2021 by Good Housekeeping. As we continue to navigate the pandemic through the omicron surge and beyond, an app like Caribu will continue to keep children connected with friends and family in fun, engaging ways! 

 You might be interested: Rosario B. Casas shares how the pandemic has accelerated technology and tech trends to keep an eye on

Latiner is the first Latina-created dating app for Latinx and Hispanic singles. (Image courtesy of Latiner)

Latiner

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

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. 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.”

apps by latinas

DREAMers Roadmap 

Founded by Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca, DREAMers Roadmap is a nonprofit app that helps undocumented students across the country find scholarships to help supplement what financial aid won’t cover. 

For many undocumented immigrants, college does not seem possible. To qualify for financial assistance for college under FAFSA, a student must have a social security number – a form of identification that undocumented people do not possess. Because of this, many students believe they cannot afford higher education. 

However, DREAMers Roadmap helps to seek out alternative scholarship opportunities. What began as a seed of an idea in 2014 ended up winning the Voto Latino’s Innovator Challenge in 2015, earning Espinoza Salamanca and DREAMers Roadmap $100,000. 

Since its creation, the app has helped over 20,000 students continue their education. 

These inspirational Latina entrepreneurs have impacted their ventures, and we could not be happier to support them. Representation matters and we need more Latinas in tech, so that young Latinas of the future know they have a place in these industries too! 

Why reaching “herd immunity” transcends the end of a pandemic (in English and Spanish)

A message from the president and CEO of Latinas in Business (See below for Spanish version). 

As the optimist that I am, I keep remembering the Spanish saying, “Hope is the last thing you lose.” At worst, we can only hope for the best in the new year, the upcoming 2022. Will this be the year we achieve “herd immunity”?

Still, “ending a year” or “starting a new year” is an illusion; time is a continuum that does not stop or change, with the rhythm of the seasons and the variations of nature. We could count the seasons as a full year, why not? After all, the seasons are the beginning of something real in Nature, and we would celebrate our birthdays every three months by living much longer, maybe even longer than Methuselah!

A calendar year is a social construct that follows the movement of the sun or the moon or other events in nature, which different cultures establish as “the norm” to celebrate or commemorate certain religious or historical events. A calendar is a way of giving society and individuals a structure to avoid chaos and anarchy, a succession of numbers – days – and names – months – that makes sense for a particular lifestyle. The Chinese calendar differs from the Gregorian calendar or the Jewish calendar, to name a few.

In the 2022 Chinese calendar, the new year begins on February 1st. (Image: Amazon.com)

And yet, here we are, planning to celebrate the end of a terrible, mind-changing, exhilarating second year of a global pandemic that has challenged society to the brink of utter insanity, blatant stupidity, or sharp enlightenment.

Utter insanity was the reaction of those who are essentially “social animals”, individuals who need physical and personal contact with others of their kind. The confinement meant to them an imposed prison that prevented them from enjoying the daily donut gossiping, the gym cronies, or the dining out limelight. 

vaccine

The pandemic showed how some individuals would rather prioritize an illusory sense of “freedom” over the lives of more than 5 million human beings. (Photo Credit: Unsplash)

Blatant stupidity crowned the heads of those who refused to care for themselves and others, displaying the utmost disdain for a sense of civility or solidarity in pursuit of a political bias. Vaccines or masks are too much of a restriction for these people who prioritize a selfish and illusory sense of “freedom” or self-preservation beliefs to the contamination of a vaccine that saves lives over the lives of more than 5 million human beings, many of which died unnecessarily. And I quote the global death toll because blatant stupidity is not an exclusive “American” quality.

pandemic

(Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

But then some were able to focus on themselves and their families and think about their lives. Many realized that they wanted something more than a mere existence, which did not necessarily mean more material things. Others understood that their working conditions had been unacceptable because there are options to having to travel miserable distances or work inhumane hours in an office far from the people and activities they love the most.

A large group of people took the opportunity to improve their lives by spending less, saving more, and choosing to follow their passion, perhaps leaving an unacceptable culture in the workplace to make better decisions for themselves or to open their businesses. Others decided to move, in search of a more relatable life experience out of state, out of cities, or out of ghettos.

The pandemic also affected life and business relationships. Many broke up with toxic partners or ended frayed relationships. Isolation was a challenge when we had to face ourselves and others who are part of our lives without the usual distractions. The pandemic demanded the ingenuity of many to find a new love; for others, it meant business innovation to respond to new challenges.

The pandemic caused many to make career changes, choosing to follow their passion and leaving unacceptable workplace environments for better choices. (Photo credit: Unsplash)

If the Internet changed the way we have lived, worked, and loved since the 1990s, the pandemic forced us to look at what has become of us with those changes. Have we improved our humanity, our sense of self and community, or are we dragging resentment and darkness into the abyss of isolation?

Despite the rapid development of vaccines around the world and simple precautions to control the disease, lives continue to be lost and people continue to get sick. The pandemic has entered a phase of “phases”, a roller coaster in which seasons, celebrations, and travel play an important role in a hyper-connected world.

pandemic

“Phases” of the pandemic continue, with new variants posing a threat. (Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

The goal to end this nightmare that has changed our lives seems to be achieving herd immunity when a large part of the world community becomes immune to disease through infection or vaccination. The contagion decreases, it becomes unlikely. Thus, the entire community is protected.

As with herd immunity, humanity will still have to choose between “getting infected” or “getting vaccinated” to reach a point of balance. Utter insanity and blatant stupidity will likely spread even further before the personal suffering becomes unbearable.

vaccine

Vaccinations and herd immunity will be crucial in finding balance and eliminating the threat of the COVID-19 virus. (Photo credit: unsplash.com)

Hopefully, sharp enlightenment will spread to more people who will rise with wisdom and insight into the world we want to become, not the one we have become. 

I don’t know if 2022 will be the year we achieve herd immunity as the Omicron threat looms over us. Rather, it will definitely be the year for those who have crossed the troubled waters of change and are ready to continue to do something with themselves, their lives, and their work choices. 

Those who keep their minds alert and keenly enlightened will enter the “brave new world” in which we don’t have much choice: together we achieve a collective human consciousness or we become extinct as a species.

As time continues to progress inexorably, let’s celebrate new beginnings and longings for 2022! After all, it is our only hope.

Thanks to our Executive Board, our members, supporters, and sponsors for believing in our mission!  

Un abrazo,
Susana G Baumann

Happy Holidays from Latinas in Business CEO and President, Susana G. Baumann. (Photo courtesy: Susana G Baumann)


En Español: Por qué alcanzar la “inmunidad colectiva” trasciende el final de una pandemia

Un mensaje de la presidenta y CEO de Latinas in Business

Como buena optimista que soy, sigo recordando el dicho, “La esperanza es lo último que se pierde”. En el peor de los casos, solo podemos esperar lo mejor en el nuevo año, el próximo 2022. ¿Será este el año en el que logremos la “inmunidad colectiva”?

Sin embargo, “terminar un año” o “comenzar un nuevo año” es una ilusión; el tiempo es un continuo que no se detiene ni cambia, con el ritmo de las estaciones y las variaciones de la naturaleza. Podríamos contar las estaciones como un año completo, ¿por qué no? Después de todo, las estaciones son el comienzo de algo real en la Naturaleza, y celebraríamos nuestros cumpleaños cada tres meses viviendo mucho más tiempo, ¡tal vez incluso más que Matusalén!

Un año calendario es un constructo social que sigue el movimiento del sol o la luna u otros eventos en la naturaleza, y que diferentes culturas establecen como “la norma” para celebrar o conmemorar ciertos eventos religiosos o históricos. Un calendario es una forma de darle a la sociedad y a los individuos una estructura para evitar el caos y la anarquía, una sucesión de números -días- y nombres -meses- que tiene sentido para un estilo de vida particular. El calendario chino difiere del calendario gregoriano o del calendario judío, por nombrar algunos.

En el calendario chino 2022, el año nuevo comienza el 1 de febrero. (Imagen: Amazon.com)

Y aún así, aquí estamos, planeando celebrar el final de un segundo año terrible, enloquecedor, transformativo de una pandemia global que ha desafiado a la sociedad al borde de la locura total, la estupidez flagrante o la iluminación aguda.

La locura total fue la reacción de quienes son esencialmente “animales sociales”, individuos que necesitan el contacto físico y personal con otros de su especie. El encierro les significó una prisión impuesta que les impedía disfrutar de los chismes diarios de la oficina, los compinches del gimnasio o estar en el centro social de atención. 

vacuna

La pandemia mostró cómo algunas personas prefieren priorizar un sentido ilusorio de “libertad” sobre la vida de más de 5 millones de seres humanos. (Photo credit: unsplash.com)

La estupidez flagrante coronó la cabeza de aquellos que se negaron a cuidarse a sí mismos y a los demás, mostrando el mayor desdén por un sentido de civilidad o solidaridad en pos de un sesgo político. Las vacunas o máscaras son demasiada restricción para estas personas que priorizan un sentido egoísta e ilusorio de “libertad” o creencias de auto-preservación a la contaminación de una vacuna que salva vidas –por sobre la vida de más de 5 millones de seres humanos, muchos de los cuales murieron innecesariamente. Y cito el número global de muertes porque la estupidez flagrante no es una cualidad “estadounidense” exclusivamente. 

(Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

Pero luego, algunos pudieron concentrarse en sí mismos y en sus familias y pensar en sus vidas. Muchos se dieron cuenta de que querían algo más que una mera existencia, lo que no necesariamente significaba más cosas materiales. Otros entendieron que sus condiciones de trabajo habían sido inaceptables porque hay opciones a tener que viajar distancias miserables y trabajar horarios inhumanos en una oficina lejos de las personas y actividades que más aman.

Un gran grupo de personas aprovechó la oportunidad para mejorar su vida gastando menos, ahorrando más y eligiendo seguir su pasión, tal vez dejando una cultura inaceptable en el lugar de trabajo para tomar mejores decisiones o para abrir sus negocios. Otros decidieron mudarse, en busca de una experiencia de vida con la cual se identificaban mejor fuera de su estado, de sus ciudades o de sus guetos.

La pandemia hizo que muchos cambiaran su carrera, eligieron seguir su pasión y dejaron entornos laborales inaceptables para tomar mejores decisions. (Photo credit: unsplash.com)

La pandemia también afectó las relaciones de vida y de negocios. Muchos rompieron con socios tóxicos o terminaron de arrastrar relaciones desgastadas. El aislamiento fue un desafío cuando tuvimos que enfrentarnos a nosotros mismos y a los demás que forman parte de nuestras vidas sin las distracciones habituales. La pandemia demandó el ingenio de muchos para encontrar un nuevo amor; para otros, significó innovación empresarial para responder a nuevos desafíos.

Si Internet cambió la forma en que hemos vivimos, trabajado y amado desde los años noventa, la pandemia nos obligó a mirar qué ha sido de nosotros con esos cambios. ¿Hemos mejorado nuestra humanidad, nuestro sentido del yo y la comunidad, o estamos arrastrando el resentimiento y la oscuridad al abismo del aislamiento?

A pesar del rápido desarrollo de las vacunas en todo el mundo y de las sencillas precauciones para controlar la enfermedad, se siguen perdiendo vidas y la gente se sigue enfermando. La pandemia ha entrado en una fase de “fases”, una montaña rusa en la que las estaciones, las celebraciones, y los viajes juegan un papel importante en un mundo hiper-conectado.

Continúan las “fases” de la pandemia, con nuevas variantes que suponen una amenaza. (Photo credit: Screenshot  from Washington Post on December 18, 2021)

El objetivo para poner fin a esta pesadilla que ha cambiado nuestras vidas parece ser lograr la inmunidad colectiva, cuando una gran parte de la comunidad mundial se vuelva inmune a la enfermedad a través de la infección o la vacunación. El contagio disminuye, se vuelve poco probable. Así, toda la comunidad queda protegida.

Al igual que en la inmunidad colectiva, la humanidad tendrá que seguir eligiendo entre “infectarse” o “vacunarse” para alcanzar un punto de equilibrio. La locura total y la estupidez flagrante probablemente se extenderán aún más antes de que el sufrimiento personal sea insoportable.

vacuna

Las vacunas y la inmunidad colectiva serán cruciales para encontrar el equilibrio y eliminar la amenaza del virus COVID-19. (Photo credit: unsplash.com)

Con suerte, la iluminación aguda se extenderá a más personas que se elevarán con sabiduría y mayor comprensión del mundo en el que queremos convertirnos, no en el que nos hemos convertido.

No sé si 2022 será el año en el que logremos la inmunidad colectiva, ya que la amenaza de Omicron se cierne sobre nosotros. Por el contrario, definitivamente será el año de aquellos que han cruzado las turbulentas aguas del cambio y están listos para continuar mejorándose a sí mismos, sus vidas y sus elecciones laborales.

Aquellos que mantengan su mente alerta y agudamente iluminada entrarán en el “valiente nuevo mundo” en el que no tenemos muchas opciones: juntos logramos una conciencia humana colectiva o nos extinguimos como especie. 

A pesar de que el tiempo sigue avanzando inexorablemente, ¡celebremos nuevos comienzos y anhelos para el 2022! 

Después de todo, es nuestra única esperanza. 

¡Gracias a nuestro Comité Ejecutivo, nuestros miembros, amigos, y patrocinadores por continuar apoyando nuestra misión!

Un abrazo,
Susana G Baumann

Feliz Año Nuevo de la directora ejecutiva y presidenta de Latinas in Business, Susana G. Baumann. (Photo courtesy: Susana G Baumann)

 

SBA: How these cities support Latinx small businesses, J.Lo. fireside chat

The SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced today the full speaker slate for National Small Business Week, including entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Chef José Andrés, and White House Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond.  The National Small Business Week Virtual Summit takes place September 13-15, 2021.

 

Photo Credits: Mark Cuban (Wikimedia Commons – Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Mark Cuban & Doug Ducey) –  Jennifer Lopez (Wikipedia Commons dvsross – Jennifer Lopez at GLAAD Media Awards.jpg) – Jose Andres (Wikimedia Commons David Shankbone – Own work José Andrés Puerta at the 2012 Time 100 gala.)

The theme for this year’s event is Celebrating Resilience and Renewal, spotlighting the resilience of America’s entrepreneurs and the renewal of the small business economy as they build back better from the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic.

Administrator Guzman will kick off National Small Business Week with an opening address on September 13. In addition to this and the new keynote speakers, other panelists and participants will include Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mayor Steve Adler, Austin, Texas; Mayor Regina Romero, Tucson, Ariz.; Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago, Ill.; Tarik Brooks, President of Combs Enterprises, and Oisin Hanrahan, Chief Executive Officer of Angi.

Here’s how you can participate:

Photo of Jennifer Lopez

Register for the National Small Business Week Virtual Summit, September 13-15 for business tips, chat with other small business owners and connect with industry experts.

Also, hear from guest speaker Jennifer Lopez as she joins Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman for “Pathways to Entrepreneurship: A Fireside Chat” on Tuesday, September 14.

For more information, see the Virtual Summit agenda.

Photo credit SBA

NSBW Virtual Summit Speakers Line up

Monday, September 13 – “Getting Back on Track: Resources to Build Back Better”

  • Opening Keynote Address by: Isabella Casillas Guzman, SBA Administrator (11-11:30 a.m. EDT)
  • Keynote Address by: Cedric Richmond, White House Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement (11-11:30 a.m. EDT)
  • Keynote Address by: Mark Cuban, Entrepreneur (11-11:30 a.m. EDT)
  • “Life after COVID – A Fireside Chat with SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and Restaurateur Chef José Andrés”- José Andrés, Chef, Restaurateur and Founder of World Central Kitchen (12:40-1:10 p.m. EDT)

Tuesday, September 14 –Better Serving Small Businesses and Underserved Communities

  • “Support Latino Biz: How these Mayors are Leading the Way” – (3:40-4:40 p.m. EDT)
    Participants: Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mayor Steve Adler, Austin, Texas; Mayor Regina Romero, Tucson, Ariz.; Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago, Ill.
    Moderator: Antwaun Griffin, Chief of Staff for the SBA
  • Special Remarks by: Tarik Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of Combs Enterprises, will speak on the importance of Black and Brown communities coming together to support each other. (4:45-5:00 p.m. EDT)

Wednesday, September 15 “Continuance to Support Resilience and Renewal”

  • Special Remarks by: Oisin Hanrahan, Chief Executive Officer of Angi (formerly Angie’s List), will share small business experiences as well as trends and insights on how Angi has maneuvered through the pandemic and positioned for the future.

Biographies for Keynote Speakers

Cedric Richmond: White House Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement
Cedric Richmond is an attorney and former Democratic Congressman for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District from 2011-2021. Richmond now serves as senior advisor to President Biden and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Mark Cuban: Entrepreneur
Mark Cuban is an entrepreneur, television personality, and media proprietor. He is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team of the National Basketball Association, co-owner of 2929 Entertainment, and chairman of AXS-TV. He is also one of the main “shark” investors on the hit ABC reality TV series “Shark Tank.”

José Andrés: Chef, Restaurateur, and Founder of World Central Kitchen
José Andrés is a chef, restaurateur, and founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters.  He is often credited with bringing the small plates dining concept to America. He owns restaurants in Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nev.; South Beach Miami and Orlando, Fla.; Chicago, Ill., and New York, N.Y.  Andrés received the National Humanities Medal at a White House ceremony in 2016. In 2018, Andrés’ World Central Kitchen provided meals to furloughed federal employees during the federal government shutdown.

You might be interested: Isabella Casillas Guzman confirmed as new SBA Administrator, a big win for small businesses 

Administrator Guzman announced National Small Business Week 2021 in a news release last month. The free, three-day conference will take place in a virtual atrium, which will showcase a series of educational panels on best practices for small businesses to pivot and recover in a changing economy. NSBW events this year will also provide a forum where business owners will be able to get expert advice, learn new business strategies, connect with industry experts, and meet other business owners as they look to pivot and recover. Additional speakers will be announced. Details and information will be posted on https://www.sba.gov/NSBW  as events are finalized.

To register for the National Small Business Week Virtual Summit and participate in summit workshops, please visit http://www.sba.gov/NSBW. All events will be live-streamed and will use the event hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek.

WEES, WEES 2021

Save the Date: June 10 for the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit & Latina Leaders Award

LEARN. CONNECT. SUCCEED!  Our 3rd consecutive WEES will provide you with inspiration, resources, and networking connections that will allow you to THRIVE!

WEES, WEES 2021

Join us for our first hybrid event, the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit, June 10 in NYC.

We are pleased to invite you to attend the 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit, our unique conference that year after year gathers Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs in the region to Learn, Connect, and Succeed!  

“We are extremely excited to deliver our first hybrid event since the pandemic began, a significant change from the solely-virtual events of the past year, to bring a sense of normalcy to our audience. And we are very grateful to Berkeley College, a Hispanic-serving institution in New York City, for co-hosting the event this year,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

The conference will take place on June 10, 2021 from 1:30pm to 6:30pm in our Virtual Space, and 6:00pm to 8:00pm at our Live Site, at Berkeley College’s  Mid-Manhattan Campus, a short walk from Grand Central Station. Be sure to save the date! 

It’s your time to THRIVE!

The 2021 theme, “THRIVE! Imperatives Shaping the Future of Women Entrepreneurs,” is reflective of the changes and trends generated by the COVID19 pandemic. We bring together corporations, minority women entrepreneurs, and students to take advantage of tools and insights that will propel YOU forward to THRIVE in the “new normal.” 

First Lady of New Jersey

Mrs Tammy S. Snyder, First Lady of New Jersey, addresses women and men entrepreneurs at the 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch in Jersey City.

Just as our past events featured inspirational guest speakers such as First Lady of New Jersey Tammy S. Murphy and Cenia Paredes, celebrity designer and founder, Cenia New York, this year’s conference will feature inspiring Keynote speakers, fun networking sessions and a surprise Celebrity Speaker! 

Jackeline Cacho with actor, TV writer and producer, and women’s advocate Ivana de Maria during Fireside Chat at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch. 

Highlights of the Conference:

  • Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation: Deep-dive workshops discuss three essential imperatives for business development: 
  • THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success: Three inspiring women entrepreneurs will share their journeys to success while fighting the odds of being a woman and reinventing themselves during the pandemic.  
  • THRIVE! Enlisting Men’s Support to Expand your Networks:  Three national leaders will share their initiatives in the Men’s Panel on how women can recruit them to expand and grow their businesses and networks. 
  • Peer-to-Peer Networking Sessions: Allow participants to exchange experiences and innovation that they have used to advance their businesses in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic. 
  • WIN A TRIP: The opportunity to WIN a trip to Morocco in October 2021 with Renovad! 

You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

From 6:00pm to 8:00pm, during the LIVE portion of the conference, the Latina Leaders Awards and Reception, 12 successful Latinas will be awarded for excelling at growing their businesses or building community around them. The LIVE segment will be broadcasted to all virtual audience from our Berkeley College in NYC. 

Great surprises and the winner of the Morocco trip will be announced! 

Join us for this must-attend event where we will help you gain the tools, insights, and resources that will propel you and your business forward in post COVID-19 world, not only to recover but to THRIVE! 

instagram for small businesses, instagram,

How Instagram is helping Latina entrepreneurs survive the pandemic

The pandemic put most brands into turmoil, if not out of business. It’s a dire situation for all businesses, but the minority-owned businesses bear the brunt. This is especially true for Hispanic-owned businesses, which took a 42% nosedive in sales from February to March 2020 alone. A similar report even suggested that the impacts of the coronavirus would be twice as bad on black- and Hispanic-owned brands than for white-owned businesses.

Despite this outlook, many Latina entrepreneurs weathered the crisis by pivoting their operations. These Latinas turned to Instagram to reach consumers and connect with others in the community. Get to know these three Latina-owned businesses that beat the odds via Instagram.

Cafe Con Libros (Bookstore)

The bookstore closed up shop in early March of 2020 when the pandemic broke out. It was a tough decision for Latina owner Kalima DeSuze since the business relied heavily on their storefront— they sold coffee and pastries. But DeSuze knew that it was the best thing to do in the interest of her staff and customers’ safety.

41-year-old DeSuze took social media, SEO, and e-commerce courses to learn how to effectively use Instagram. Applying what she learned, the bookstore gained 15,000 followers on social media. DeSuze successfully tapped into online retail and created a platform to share books authored by women of color in the process.

 

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Flower Bodega (Floral Design & Content Studio)

Florist and owner Aurea Sanabria Molaei was forced to rethink her business strategy after the pandemic hit. Her 2020 contracts started to fall through almost all at once. She came up with the idea of creating floral kits instead.

She would scramble to deliver all the kits to customers around New York. After completing deliveries, Sanabria Molaei would host a live floral arrangement class on Instagram, filmed from her studio. Other brands took notice and now ask Sanabria Molaei to do Instagram takeovers and live video sessions to teach floral design.

 

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Franca (Ceramics)

It was a massive blow to Jazmin de la Guardia and her business partner when their wholesale accounts shut down, crippling 95% of the business. This was when they decided to look to social media to drive sales up.

 

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The Franca staff poured their efforts into growing their Instagram account, and it proved to be a success. Online orders started to come in, and their products even caught Michelle Obama’s attention. She commissioned a line of mugs as part of her ‘Vote 4Ever Merch’ collection

You might be interested: 3 Marketing challenges Latina-owned businesses face

How you can maximize Instagram for your business

Maintain high-quality visuals

Aesthetics is crucial on Instagram. It’s a photo and video-sharing app, so there’s simply no room for shoddy shots.

Your photos and videos need to look professional if you want to be taken seriously— well-lit, in high-definition, and tasteful. Furthermore, make sure that your posts are cohesive. Choose a theme or color palette that best reflects your brand and stick with it.

Follow a schedule

More than pretty visuals, you need consistency to keep followers engaged on Instagram. This is why you need to plan out your content calendar in advance. In fact, you can even use a dedicated Instagram scheduler to ensure this calendar is followed down to the minute.

Some schedulers also deliver personalized insights that let you know when your followers are most engaged and suggest the best time for you to post. This is especially important given Instagram’s latest update to their algorithm, where new posts are noticed more. 

Take advantage of live videos

Take a cue from the Flower Bodega and the Fashion Designers of Latin America, start doing live videos. This gives you a unique opportunity to showcase your products as well as your brand personality in a more casual and intimate way.

Instagram allows you to broadcast live through the Stories format and even the IGTV format, which lets you upload longer-form videos, too.

COVID-19 put a strain on Latina entrepreneurs, but it’s also proven how their entrepreneurial skills and tenacity can tide them through even the most difficult times.

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.

Latinas in Business partners with Rutgers’ Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI) Program

Jasmine Cordero is the director of Rutgers’ award-winning Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI) Program where she manages the 9-month training program focused on helping entrepreneurs in NJ grow their businesses and attain resources, financial coaching, peer-mentoring, and networking opportunities. 

Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative

Apply today! Deadline March 31.

The Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI) offered by Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) is an exclusive program that has helped countless entrepreneurs grow and improve their businesses for over 13 years. 

Now, Latinas in Business is becoming Strategic Partners with Rutgers’ EPI program to bring our Members more support and resources and help them get their businesses to the next level. Latina in Business Members will receive an exclusive discount on the program, paying only $300 instead of $550. 

Additionally, Rutgers will be sponsoring 3 scholarships for Latina in Business Members each year. 

“We are grateful and excited that Rutgers EPI program has partnered with Latinas in Business to give access to better knowledge, support and resources to our members. Latina entrepreneurs are a hard-working community that can use all the help they can get,” said Latinas in Business President and CEO, Susana G Baumann. 

Susana G Baumann with 2019 Latinas in Business Pitch Competition winners.

How the EPI Program will help you grow your business

Speaking with Jasmine, she explains what the EPI Program does, what participants can expect and gain from the program, and how to apply. 

“The EPI is an award-winning program and has won several national and international awards for its innovative curriculum and aiding economic development. The goal is to help entrepreneurs have thriving, sustainable and profitable businesses.

Participants receive intensive business training, individual business and financial coaching, peer mentoring, networking opportunities and mentoring over a 9-month period to help them grow and improve their businesses. The program also helps participants develop the skills and tools needed to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and any other crisis that their business may face.” 

Jasmine Cordero as one of the judges at the 2019 Latinas in Business Pitch Competition.

What do small Business owners take away from the program? 

“Entrepreneurs leave the program with a road map, actionable, and measurable plan on how they are going to grow their business within the next three years. They also leave with an expanded network, a support network, and increased business knowledge to help them with their business growth.”

How do they graduate, and what are the requirements for graduation? 

To gain the full benefit of the EPI program, all participants must commit to:

    • Half a day training sessions biweekly on Fridays (Virtual via Zoom)
    • Additional hours (approximately 6-10) over the nine-month program for business development and financial coaching 
    • Developing and presenting a customized growth plan for your business
Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative

Visit https://www.business.rutgers.edu/cueed/epi for more information on the program and how to apply.

Is there funding involved?

Each participant will have their own business and financial coaches. As part of the coaching, the business coach will help them identify opportunities to grow and the financial coach will help them find funding. 

Who can apply? 

In order to be able to apply to the program you must be in business/fully operational for at least a minimum of 2 years and located in NJ.

Registration is now open for the 13th cohort. The deadline to apply is March 31. You can complete an application at https://www.business.rutgers.edu/cueed/epi.

UN Women

Maria-Noel Vaeza of UN Women discusses key issues affecting women post-COVID

In the past year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, women have experienced job loss in record numbers and suffered from economic barriers. To address these issues UN Women is creating a variety of programs and initiatives that will help further the advancement of women globally, increase their access to capital, and promote gender equality.

UN Women, gender equality

Maria-Noel Vaeza, UN Women. (Photo credit: Pablo Sanhueza)

How UN Women is working to support women post-COVID Crisis

Maria-Noel Vaeza is the Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean. A Uruguayan native, she holds a doctorate in Law and Social Sciences from the University of the Republic of Uruguay and a master’s degree in public policy from John Hopkins University in Washington DC. Prior to this role, Maria-Noel served as Director of the Program Division at UN Women headquarters in New York. 

Before joining the UN she also held various positions in the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including Political Counselor at the Uruguayan Embassy in Washington DC and delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. 

Currently, UN Women are working to develop various programs to support women in business, especially those struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key objectives UN Women are working to address is advancing gender equality. 

“Advancing gender equality continues to be strategic, and becomes even more important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to McKinsey Global Institute estimates from July 2020, the rate of job loss for women has been 1.8 times higher than that of men,” says Maria-Noel. 

UN Women

Maria-Noel Vaeza, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean. (Photo credit: Pablo Sanhueza)

According to their estimates, not taking gender-lens actions to address the impact of COVID-19 in a way that would widen the gap in labor participation between men and women would result in a decrease in global GDP by $1 billion in 2030, compared to its value if the crisis had affected women equally. In contrast, if actions were taken now to improve gender equality, so that gender equality improves over the next decade, global GDP could be $13 billion higher in 2030, an increase of 11% over the no-action scenario.”

To encourage advancements in gender equality, UN Women are creating a variety of programs to address gender biases and inequalities in business. One of these programs is the Win-Win program. 

Formed in collaboration with ILO and with financial support from the European Union, the Win-Win program seeks to contribute to the economic empowerment of women, recognizing them as beneficiaries and drivers of growth and development, in partnership with the private sector through the incorporation and/or improvement of corporate management with a gender lens, with the understanding that in addition to an ethical imperative and social justice, gender equality is good business for companies, for the market and society as a whole.

The Win-Win Program’s 3 Key Focus Topics

The Win-Win Program is framed within the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development focusing on 4 Sustainable Development Goals (5,10, 8 and 17). To address opportunities for economic empowerment and open spaces for women, the Win-Win Program addresses the issue in 3 dimensions of work: with entrepreneurs and businesswomen; with companies (supporting them in a gender-focused management) and with the financial sector to develop innovative financing initiatives with gender impact.  

Maria-Noel Vaeza at Forum WEPs. (Photo credit: Rodrigo de la Fuente).

There are three topics that have become essential for women’s businesses and that UN Women seek to promote through the Win-Win Program. Maria-Noel describes these three key focus topics below:

  1. First, the use of digital tools to reach their target audiences, position their businesses and sell, including digital marketing and e-commerce. This crisis is deepening the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digitalization processes, so it is essential to adjust to change and rethink the ways of doing business. 
  2. Second, access to financing. The evidence is clear: investing in women is good business. But for many women, access to capital remains a major barrier. According to the IFC, only 7% of private equity and venture capital is invested in women-led businesses. This lack of capital or funding is not only detrimental to women’s progress, but to social and economic growth itself. Therefore, from the Win-Win Program, we are working on an innovative financing initiative with an impact on gender equality. 
  3. Third, there are the strategic alliances and linkages that can be made between women’s companies and between companies committed to equality, to generate business opportunities or mutual benefit, as well as the promotion of gender-sensitive procurement in corporate or public procurement processes. By gender-sensitive procurement, we mean the review of procurement processes to identify barriers to the participation of women-owned businesses, as well as the possibility of implementing affirmative actions to include more women-owned businesses in supply chains.  

Within the framework of the Win-Win Program, the UN Women have also developed the Investors for Equality Initiative, a space for meeting and dialogue between the different actors of the financial, investment and entrepreneurship ecosystem to raise awareness and mobilize investments with gender impact.

The Investors for Equality Initiative seeks to become a space that puts women at the center of investments, making them visible as businesswomen, entrepreneurs and investors. It also seeks to involve more actors in this effort and to mobilize more capital flows and financial instruments to reduce the financing gaps that women face today and to generate a commitment to the principles involved in promoting gender-sensitive investments and gender equality within organizations in the financial sector.

“To this end, we call on more investors and financial institutions to join us, transforming their internal practices to promote women’s empowerment, generating more innovative financial instruments and mechanisms that incorporate a gender perspective and thereby achieve greater impact on gender equality and women’s empowerment,” says Maria-Noel.

The impact of Latina women and entrepreneurs

According to recent World Bank data, in the Latin American and Caribbean region, women represent approximately 40% of the economically active population. According to IDB data, the average rate of entrepreneurial activity of women in the region is 15%, of which 71% undertake out of opportunity and 29% out of necessity. 

“Latin America in general is one of the regions with the highest rates of entrepreneurial activity, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the six countries with the highest rates are in the region, with Chile and Ecuador at the top of the list. This speaks of a huge opportunity,” says Maria-Noel. 

UN Women, gender equality

Marie-Noel Vaeza, UN Women. (Photo credit: Pablo Sanhueza)

“Women play a central role in our societies, not only because they are almost 50% of the population, but also because women control around 20 billion dollars in consumer spending, and generate around 18 billion, which widens their circle of influence. In Latin America, women make 64% of the purchasing decisions in their households. Data shows that women entrepreneurs generate 20% more income than men, even though 50% less is invested in them.” 

This begs the question: Why, if women generate more income, decide on consumption and undertake profitably, do they have fewer opportunities? According to Maria-Noel, one of the current challenges for women’s economic empowerment is the mobilization of the capital necessary to have impactful businesses, diversify sources of financing, and develop more innovative mechanisms.

Still, Latinas are innovative and eager to move forward,” Maria-Noel says, though they face  “enormous frustrations due to the barriers they face: no access to financing.” 

If these barriers are to be broken down, we must work on social norms and eliminate unconscious biases and stereotypes, which is what the UN Women are striving to do with their various programs focused on promoting the advancement of women. 

Marie-Noel Vaeza, taking a selfie with others. (Photo credit: Pablo Sanhueza)

We have to accelerate the pace for the advancement of women. It is absurd to continue discriminating. What we need to do as society is to start working and advocating toward gender equality. Women represent 50% of the world population, and women’s contribution to global gross domestic product (GDP) is 37%. Women are on the front line of the response and bear greater physical and emotional costs, as well as a higher risk of infection in crisis response.”  

And yet, Women are underrepresented as voters, as well as in leading positions, whether in elected offices, civil services, the private sector or academia. 

You might be interested: Mariela Dabbah, the perils of a global pandemic for gender inclusion in the workplace

“Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” says Maria-Noel. “What we need to guarantee is that human rights, that are women´s right, are respected, guarantee their participation in decision-making spaces, in political parties and in all aspects of society. And that is why the work that we do at UN Women is so important, we focus on priority areas that are fundamental to women’s equality, and that can unlock progress across the board.” 

Moving forward: UN Women’a 4 areas of focus

Moving forward, the UN Women will continue to focus on priority areas fundamental to women’s equality and create programs that will further the advancement of women. Four primary areas of focus are: Political empowerment, economic empowerment, eliminating violence against women, and promoting peace and security. 

Maria-Noel Vaeza, UN Women. (Photo credit: Rodrigo de la Fuente).

Political empowerment: For this, we are working with the electoral tribunals to train women candidates. We have a wonderful platform that is active and has more than 5,000 women who want to be candidates or who are already candidates so that they can continue to be trained in negotiation, public policies. Today, 70% of the parliaments are made up of men, 100% of the presidents are men and 85% of the mayors are men. We have to move the needle and reach this parity. Our goal is parity. 

Economic empowerment: In this line, our priorities are the care economy and gender-sensitive financing and investments. 

Eliminating violence against women and girls is fundamental. To this end, I place great emphasis on prevention, because not enough is being done, and on access to justice. 

And finally, everything related to women, peace and security. Working on how women are placed at the tables to negotiate social peace, for preventive diplomacy, to avoid the conflicts that occur every day in our region and all that is humanitarian aid.

Additionally, this year the UN Women will focus on having women at the center of the response for COVID-19, to ensure women’s needs are taken into consideration for the recovery plans. They will be working intensely with the establishment of care systems in the region, to recognize, redistribute and reduce unpaid care work. Innovation will be at the center of the UN Women’s work moving forward as they also continue to focus on the overall advancement of women and further gender equality.