Nuestra Comunidad: Couple starts program to aid Hispanic entrepreneurs

Keren Granados and César Restrepo got the idea for their new business venture while discussing their existing company at dinner with friends.

“We were talking about what people do to get ahead in their businesses,” said Granados. She and husband Restrepo started researching what types of help and resources existed in Georgia for aspiring entrepreneurs.

What they discovered was a need for support, education and networking for Hispanic proprietors in Georgia. So the couple, along with their friend, Boris Trucco, decided to do something about it.

In 2013, this group of business owners founded Emprendedores Latinos USA, an initiative designed to help those who are taking the first steps toward opening their own business.

“We’ve seen that the [idea of the] solitary entrepreneur is a myth. No entrepreneur can survive with their business doing things alone,” said Restrepo.

Alba Valiente, program participant and owner of CV Futbol, a sporting goods shop with an emphasis on soccer, said she has benefited from the support and a sense of entrepreneurial spirit she found at the organization’s meetings.

“When we have businesses we tend to be very isolated because we don’t have time to socialize, and I think that’s one of the most important things Emprendedores Latinos gives me,” said Valiente, who is originally from Guatemala.

The organization’s goal is to inspire, educate, and help business owners create connections that will ultimately help them to expand their companies.

Part of the group’s activities include monthly round table events in which participants meet and share tips and advice as well as learn how to grow both professionally and personally.

Clara Pineda, owner of Cakes & Catering, attended one of these meetings and found the direction and lessons she needed to take her company to the next level.

“They’ve helped me to make decisions, organize my company, manage social networks and make connections,” she said.

“Emprendedores Latinos changed the vision I had for my business: to manage it not as a hobby, but rather as a business with the capacity to grow,” she added.

And despite the organization’s rapid growth and success in a short time period, Emprendedores Latinos still has its sights set on reaching every Hispanic entrepreneur in the country.

“We want to be an organization of content, one that provides business education and also that gives inspirational stories so that we can connect with all Latinos,” said Granados.

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