2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo recap celebrating the economic force of Latina entrepreneurs

The 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo gathered a broad range of sponsors, supporters and participants that celebrated the economic force of Latina entrepreneurs in the Northeast.

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo in full action (Photo Credits: Americano Newspaper)

Under the slogan “Learn. Connect. Succeed!”, vendors, supporters and sponsors gathered once again under one roof, this time at the Culinary Conference Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. We did it! Not only we had a fantastic event with a great turnout but also, some raving reviews we want to share with you.

Ramona Ferreyra

Expo Journal and Latina SmallBiz Expo Ticket

This year, we experimented again and got great results!

In 2017, we added the Latina SmallBiz Expo to the original Pitch Competition. This year, we added yet another segment dedicated to peer-to-peer workshop sessions. The Entrepreneurial Empowerment Lunch was a great success and it left people wanting more!

Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch: Latina entrepreneurs need to “see and be seen”

The vision of this initiative has always been centered on Latina entrepreneurs, and how we can contribute to advancing their businesses, products and services to achieve parity with other demographic group entrepreneurs.

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Some of the sessions conducted during Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch (Photo credit: Americano Newspaper)

Working in isolation, many Latina small business owners make decisions based on their lack of experience and knowledge of what is out there for the advancement of their businesses. So we created the Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch to help them come out of the woodwork, reach out to colleagues and peers, and find results and knowledge in the experience of others.

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Speakers at the “peer-to-peer” sessions included Hipatia Lopez, founder of Empanada Fork; Danay Escanaverino, founder LunaSol Media, and Vicky Ayala, founder and author, Quirky Bodega. (Photo credit: Americano Newspaper)

We based the Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch workshops in “peer-to-peer” sessions, that is to say, we brought successful Latina entrepreneurs in their own industries to speak about their journeys, their obstacles and how they were able to overcome them, or simply recognizing failures and how they reinvented themselves.

These successful Latinas were joined by some experts in different fields, whose participation added also the necessary information to make the sessions interesting yet productive.

We were mobbed! With 119 registered attendees, we ended having over 150. We needed to add chairs to some sessions, and had a couple of people disappointed that they could not attend a session of preference because the space was limited. We apologize for these inconveniences and we promise to go bigger and better next year

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo: More vendors and a majority of Latina entrepreneurs

Laura Diaz-Alberto, La-Di Clothing (Photo credit: Americano Newspaper)

Every time I finish the Expo Journal, it gives me great satisfaction to see how the number of Latina entrepreneurs who participate at the Expo as vendors continues to grow.

Last year, we had 46 vendors of which, 23 were Latina entrepreneurs. This year, out of 59 tables, 37 were Latina-owned businesses, which to us means that our message is getting out!

Again, some considerations about the space were made, the place looked crowed but cozy –the Latino way! Great opportunities for networking, meeting new sources of information and funding, and a variety of businesses from arts and crafts imports to cleaning services, and from entertainment to PR services and clothing. A real show case of the power and preferences of Latina micro-businesses.

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Latina small business Rocio Costic with Arbonne International (Photo credit Americano Newspaper)

Highlights of the event: Keynote Speaker, Awards and the “Latino Dessert Reception”

Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO at BRAVA InvestmentsThis year we invited Nathalie Molina Niño as Keynote Speaker of the Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch.

With simplicity and emotion, Nathalie shared her journey as a granddaughter of an Ecuadorian female immigrant who had made a promise, to bring her five children one by one to the United States.

Nathalie’s abuela was a seamstress.  Working innumerable hours at the sewing machine, she achieved her goal in the course of 20 years, Nathalie shared.

Through the excuse of “bad sight,” she used to engage Nathalie in reading to her a Spanish newspaper and in that way, her granddaughter acquired one of the most precious gifts immigrants and their descendants could have, which is bilingualism and biculturalism.

Nathalie is committed to the economic advancement of women in every environment, and has founded her company BRAVA Investments to achieve, like her grandmother, her promise.

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Susana G Baumann, Pres and CEO of Latinas in Business (center) with 2018 Awardees, Aquiles Larrea, Larrea Wealth Management, and Patricia Campos-Media, President of LUPE PAC (Photo credit Americano Newspaper)

Opening doors for Latinas in Business Inc

Every year, we have two special awards to those who support Latina entrepreneurs and open doors for us. This year, we granted the Latina Leader Award to Patricia Campos-Medina, President of LUPE PAC, and founder and CEO of Patricia Campos Strategic Group LLC; and the Lifetime Supporter Award to Aquiles Larrea, Founder and CEO of Larrea Wealth Management, and author of the successful “Empanada of Success,” a book totally dedicated to the economic and financial advancement of Latinos.

Patricia has played an important role in connecting Latinas in Business to many political and economic figures of relevance in the State of New Jersey, among which was the connection to New Jersey Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. Ms. Oliver gracefully attended our Town Hall Latina Business Meeting back in September, hosted by Major Wilda Diaz of Perth Amboy. She responded to questions and concerns of a group of Latina entrepreneurs about the vision of this Administration to advocate for their advancement.

Aquiles has been a backstage, frontstage and permanent supporter of Latinas in Business. He has actively dedicated his time to participate at our events and made important connections with media and organizations for us.

For these generous efforts we will always be grateful to both our 2018 honorees.

El “broche de oro” at the 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo 

Latino Dessert Reception by students and Faculty of Institute of Culinary Arts at Hudson County Community College (Photo credit Americano Newspaper)

Finally, “el broche de oro” was the fantastic and delicious Latino Dessert Reception served by faculty and students of the Institute of Culinary Arts at Hudson County Community College.

I believe the students were a little overwhelmed by the satisfaction and gestures of interest that all attendees and participants showed during the reception. Here’s a list of deliciousness:  Alfajores, Quesillo, Mil Hojas, Arroz con Leche, Pastelitos, Brigaderos, Chocotorta, Postre Chaja,Dulce de Higos(Figs), and Passion Fruit Merigue Tart. What a treat!

You might be interested: 

Next week, we will bring comments and recap of this year’s Pitch Competition. Don’t miss it as we will continue to show photos and moments of this fantastic event.

See here Survey Results

Thanks again to all who continue to support us year after year, and those who are newcomers who can see how together we can achieve great results!

Thanks to all who volunteered and participated at the 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo (Photo credits: Americano Newspaper)


Nathalie Molina Niño

Nathalie Molina Niño encourages women to speak as a united front at the Latina SmallBiz Expo

“I invest in companies who want me to help craft their stories.” Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO BRAVA Invesmets.

Nathalie Molina Niño is the founder and CEO of of BRAVA Investments, a company that invests in businesses that are making catalytic economic impact on women, and the co-author of her first book “LEAPFROG: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs,.”

Nathalie Molina Niño. BRAVA IInvestmentsBRAVA was born from her desire to not only help businesses but to make a change in the narrative of women in business. During her years in the tech industry, where she began her career as a technologist and coder, Nathalie saw firsthand the gender disparity, often being the only woman in the room. With BRAVA the main goal is to promote businesses that economically benefit the most women so that more women can then invest in their own ventures.

“Female entrepreneurs are not niche. Women are starting more companies than anybody else,” Nathalie shares.

Many of these women though do not have access to capital or resources to expand their ventures from local, small businesses to larger scale enterprises. Through BRAVA, Nathalie aims to invest in companies “that are putting more money into the wallets of women” so that more women can have access to capital to grow their businesses.

The criteria for which businesses BRAVA invests in is not so much about whether the businesses are women-led but about their overall impact on women and how they can benefit the most women. One such company that BRAVA has invested in is working to make birth control available over the counter which would greatly benefit a large number of women.

Technology a convoluted journey that took a toll

Nathalie Molina Niño

Co-autnors Nathalie Molina Niño (Author), Sara Grace (Author)

Despite being a creative at heart, Nathalie began her career at the University of Colorado she studied cartography, which at the time was being used to create satellite mapping systems such as MapQuest. This field combined Nathalie’s love of art and computers. During her time as the University of Colorado she also founded her first tech startup in 1996 at the age of twenty.

In an interview with The Kinlin Company, Nathalie describes this first venture: “We were all self-taught and there was no sense that this couldn’t be a woman’s space. I had no frame of reference, it was fun, and there was design embedded in it. I was an artist at heart who had studied engineering, so it was a nice confluence of those two things.”

Following the success of this venture, Nathalie left school to further pursue her career in the field of global technology. She has since been involved with various ventures which include co-founding Entrepreneurs@Athena in 2012 for the Athena Center for Leadership Studies of Barnard College and the launching of SELF MADE in 2016 for Telemundo’s former Entertainment president, Nely Galan.

She also worked for a number of years at Lionbridge and was involved in the launching and growing of a multinational business with the company. In 2011 she stepped away from her position at Lionbridge, after 15 years of working in the tech industry, to study playwriting at Columbia University.

During this period, Nathalie took time to focused on herself after years of working tirelessly had impacted her health. It was in this limbo period of relaxation that Nathalie re-evaluated herself and her skill set and found that her biggest strength that made her “uniquely successful” was her talent of storytelling. Studying theater helped her expand this skill even more and it is now what makes her such a strong investor.

Nathalie Molina Niño

Nathalie Molina Niño

How multicultural experiences molded her character and vision

BRAVA is now two years old. Nathalie says “it’s been a ride.” Like any business, there will always been bumps in the road, but Nathalie cites her upbringing as a crucial strength for navigating conflicts.

“I learned that my roots and the lessons from my family about being kind are the most important keys to running a successful business and being sane and happy in the process” she says.

Her multicultural experiences have helped her to be flexible and perceptive in various situations. Growing up, she learned to manage multiple cultures at once– her father being from Ecuador and her mother from Colombia. Despite their proximity, both countries had massive cultural differences.

“Being their daughter and growing up in L.A. taught me to be flexible, think outside the box, and look at situations more objectively,” she says.

This skill set transferred over to her career, where dealing with a multitude of different clients requires one to be flexible and objective. Being fully bilingual has also helped give her an edge in her industry, allowing her to build diverse partnerships across the world.

As an entrepreneur, you are not alone
Nathalie also stresses the strength of alliances. Especially for aspiring Latina entrepreneurs she advises that one should build a network and support system.
“You are not alone,” she assures. “Build alliances, support your sisters and remember that they can ignore one or two of us, but they can’t ignore millions of us speaking as a united front. Be impatient about change and about taking what’s ours.”

For more entrepreneurial tips and insights, refer to Nathalie’s book Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs, where she offers resources for entrepreneurs who don’t have “the status-quo connections and backing that you typically hear about in Silicon Valley.”

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Presenters announced at the 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Under the slogan “Learn, Connect, Succeed!” Latinas in Business Inc. has announced their 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch your Business Competition. The event will take place at the Hudson County Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk St., Jersey City, NJ on November 8, 2018 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm.

2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Latinas in Business Inc., the national non-profit organization that advocates for the economic empowerment of the Latina working woman is joining efforts with the New Jersey Office of Business Opportunity (HC OBO) and Hudson County Community College (HCCC), both institutions co-hosting the event.

Latina SmallBiz Expo

Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO, BRAVA Investments

Keynote speaker will be Nathalie Molina Niño, founder and CEO of BRAVA Investments, and author of LEAPFROG, The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs(Tarcher Perigee, a Penguin Random House imprint). She is committed to delivering returns to investors while making a catalytic impact on women in the world. A technologist and coder by training, Nathalie is a consummate entrepreneur, and a storyteller at heart.

“Nathalie is an extremely accomplished Latina entrepreneur who led the launch of SELF MADE, the company, mobile app, learning platform and NY Times Best Selling book by Telemundo’s former Entertainment president, Nely Galan. We are extremely grateful for her generosity to participate at our Latina SmallBiz Expo this year, and bring her unapologetic vision for Latina entrepreneurs in the Northeast,” said Susana G Baumann, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

Mistress of Ceremony at the 2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo will be Jackeline Cacho, the Los Angeles two times Emmy Nominee journalist and producer of “Triunfo Latino,” the most popular educational show in the nation that features Latino leaders across the nation.

“Jackie Cacho is an internationally acclaimed Latina leader and a generous human being who tirelessly works at changing the narrative around Latinos in the US. She will be producing her ‘Triunfo Latino’ show during the event, and broadcast it in 40 cities around the country,” Baumann announced.2018 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Latina small businesses in the region are the driving force of many markets such as beauty, retail, clothing, telephone services, food and beverage, financial services and many more.

“An estimated 5,824,300 women-of-color-owned businesses employ 2,230,600 people and generate $386.6 billion in revenues in the United States. However, numbers for Latinas grew faster than the average rate for businesses owned by other women of color: 172%, equaling 2.1 million Latina-owned businesses,” Baumann said “To celebrate the power of Latinas, we have assembled our most ambitious event ever. We are committed to raising the bar for Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs who are standing strong and building community around them every day,” she added.

For information and to register, please visit Latina SmallBiz Expo. For sponsorship and promotional opportunities, please contact

You might be interested: Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners at Univision 41

Latinas in Business Inc. is a national non-profit organization that advocates for the economic empowerment of the Latina working woman. Susana G Baumann, President, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of is an award-winning business writer, published author, speaker and multicultural marketing expert. For this initiative, launched only four years ago, she has received the 2015 Hispanicize TECLA Award, the 2015 LISTA (Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology) Award, the 2017 Hispanic Lifestyle Latina of Influence Award and the 2018 Red Shoe Movement Leader Award.