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With over 13 million women-owned businesses, Women entrepreneurs are unstoppable

Today, there are over 13 million women-owned businesses and women are starting businesses at double the national average rate, according to the 2019 State of Woman-Owned Businesses Report. Additionally, women of color make up the majority of new business owners, making them the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. The month of October is National Women’s Small Business Month, which celebrates women-owned businesses and their effect on the country’s economy. 

In 1972, there were only 400,000 women-owned businesses and until 1988 women needed a male relative to co-sign business loans. Since then we have come so far. 

According to the 2019 report, women-owned companies grew 3.9% annually from 2014 to 2019, 2.2% more than all businesses at the time. By 2019, women-owned businesses represented 45% of all U.S. businesses and generated $1.9 trillion worth of revenue. Despite these great advancements, there are still many hurdles women entrepreneurs face when starting new businesses.

This week, from October 18 – 22, marks Women’s Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) where colleges and organizations across the country host events and share resources to help women entrepreneurs grow and succeed. Berkeley College is one of many institutions that will be hosting a WEW event. The virtual event, The Future is Women, will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, October 19 and will feature panels of diverse women leaders and entrepreneurs. See here more information and to register

(Image source: Berkeley College)

Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration  (SBA) offers plenty of resources for women business owners and entrepreneurs to help women entrepreneurs launch new businesses and compete in the marketplace.

The Office of Women’s Business Ownership is one branch within the SBA that specifically works to enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support. Established in 1979, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership has fostered the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy, especially those who have been historically under-served or excluded. It supports programs through each of the SBA’s 68 district offices, providing business training and counseling, access to credit and capital, and marketing opportunities.

Resources and further reading for Women Business Owners and Entrepreneurs 

Women have made tremendous leaps and bounds in the area of business and entrepreneurship in recent decades. With over 13 million women-owned businesses and counting and the fastest growing group of business owners, women are an unstoppable force. To continue to foster this growth, we must continue to share resources and support initiatives that support women entrepreneurs. Below are a few resources and articles for further reading to help women entrepreneurs get started and succeed. 

“The pandemic caused much struggle for small business owners and we need to repair”, say Brooklyn2Bogota founders

Rosario B. Casas and Felipe Andrés Forero Hauzeur are the founders of Brooklyn2Bogota, a digital incubator for Hispanic business owners. Rosario is an award-winning women-in-tech advocate and serial tech entrepreneur. Felipe is an author, entrepreneur, engineer and veteran.  

The married couple founded Brooklyn2Bogota with the mission to close the digital divide post-Covid for business owners and entrepreneurs by focusing on empowerment, digital transformation, and business growth through a variety of activities and mentor lectures. 

In the fifth installment of the National Leaders for Latinx Advancement Series, Latinas in Business President and CEO, Susana G Baumann sat down with Rosario and Felipe to discuss the incubator program and how Latino businesses can grow post-pandemic. 

The pandemic push that launched their dream 

Brooklyn2Bogota leaders Rosario B. Casas and husband Felipe Andrés Forero Hauzeur. (Photo courtesy Rosario B. Casas)

The husband-and-wife duo first began envisioning Brooklyn2Bogota sometime in 2015. At the time they were living in New York City and Felipe was working as a diplomat for the community. Together, they began wondering how else they could help the Hispanic community, especially immigrants. They wanted to help the community in other ways, aside from the legal work Felipe was already doing at the time. 

As an entrepreneur, Rosario began imagining ways to help Latino business owners and entrepreneurs succeed and grow their businesses and soon the seeds for Brooklyn2Bogota were planted. She quickly began reserving the name ‘Brooklyn2Bogota’ across various sites and platforms with her early vision in mind. Over time, Rosario and Felipe continued to develop this idea of an incubator program that would nurture entrepreneurs and small business owners on their journeys. 

“We had planned to launch more or less for 2022,” said Rosario. “But then the pandemic happened, the crisis happened, and we knew we had to launch early. The pilot plan was launching the first cohort. Today we are in the third cohort.” 

The pandemic caused much struggle for small business owners, especially in minority populations such as the Latino community. In the past year since Brooklyn2Bogota’s lauch, three cohorts have provided resources, assistance, and mentorships to Latino entrepreneurs and business owners. Covid-19 brought many things into focus, such as the impact of technology in our lives and the importance of community and working together. 

“When you speak of unity, you have to understand the numbers and the power that we have,” said Felipe, speaking about the vast and growing Latino population in the US. “Hispanics are now almost 25 percent of the population of the United States.” 

As such a large population, the Hispanic community has the potential to impact the economy and the country’s businesses. However, for too long, minority communities have struggled to gain the resources and knowledge necessary for success and growth. This is where Rosario and Felipe stepped up to help through Brooklyn2Bogota’s programs. 

Closing the digital divide for Latino businesses post-Covid 

Brooklyn2Bogota’s program is based on three fundamental pillars: Leadership, Product and Growth. As a tech entrepreneur, Rosario understands the importance of technology when it comes to running a business. Since the pandemic, the digital divide has become more obvious. Many business owners struggled to shift online during the pandemic and their businesses suffered. Rosario and Felipe want to close that divide so that every entrepreneur may succeed. 

The incubator program focuses on helping non-tech entrepreneurs and business owners who are unfamiliar with the world of tech. They offer information, resources, and mentorship to accelerate and promote digital learning. 

Many past videos of lectures and mentor sessions available online for free and the information is delivered in Spanish. This was important to Rosario and Felipe, since language barrier is often a barrier for knowledge. There is a plethora of resources in English but not as much in Spanish for Latino business owners and entrepreneurs, the couple explained. Many Latinos also prefer to learn in their native language, especially when the concepts are new or complicated. 

women-in-tech

Rosario at TEDxTalk. (Photo courtesy Rosario B. Casas)

In the 10-week cohort entrepreneurs receive theoretical sessions and panels of specialized topics, dictated by carefully selected mentors. Focusing on the three pillars: Leadership, Product and Growth participants work to accelerate their growth in digital world post-COVID. The thematic mentoring sessions between members and participants provides them expert knowledge and guidance as they move through the program. 

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

Finally, the program provides participants with a private network that brings together the mentors and participants who complete the program. This network allows for further connection, collaboration, and exchange of ideas in the future and continued growth for entrepreneurs and business owners. 

The fourth cohort is tentatively set to begin in April 2022. For more information and to apply, visit Brooklyn2Bogota.com

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.