April 14, 2006

Latina entrepreneurs get together to talk business

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

You’ve always had a dream: To start your own business.

You see yourself as a successful Latina entrepreneur whose company would take the market by storm.

You would make a lot of money and then you would encourage other young Latinas to start their own business.

Well, it doesn’t have to continue being a dream anymore.

A conference made by and for Latina business owners and professionals can help you give that important –and difficult— first step.

The Latina Style Business Series, which here in San Diego will take place on Friday, April 21, helps Latinas develop a plan to start or to continue expanding their own business. And when it comes to being successful entrepeneurs, Latinas are so ahead, that they represent the fastest growing business group in the United States, according to Robert E. Bard, president of LATINA Style Magazine, which organizes the business series.

“The emergence of Latina entrepreneurs as a catalyst for prosperity is a welcome change in our community. Latinas are starting and succeeding in business all across the country,” he said. “Latinas are outpacing all other business startups three to one.”

The conference, which will be held at Bahia Resort Hotel, in Downtown San Diego, features seminars, financial experts panels, and other services to guide business owners in the challenging world of economics.

Some of the topics include access to capital; strategic sales and marketing strategies; professional services; technology and communications; corporate and federal procurement opportunities.

The majority of attendees are professional Latinas between 25 and 45 years of age. Each event attracts about 300 women. San Diego is the 54th city since the inception of the Business Series in 1998. Since then it has received an overwhelming positive response by the Latina, Hispanic and small business community. Over 10,000 Latina business owners have participated in this program.

“In the past, nobody was paying attention to Latina business owners”, Bard said. “Most of the events like this would focus only on men. That’s why we started this series for Latinas.”

Indeed, it was a good decision on part of the magazine.

Latina Style Magazine’s webpage states that Latinas control 39 percent of the 1.4 million companies owned by women of color in the United States, which generate nearly $147 billion in sales, according to the Center for Business Women’s Research.

More than one-third (34.9 percent) of all Hispanic businesses are owned by women.

Each year, one of those Latinas keynotes the event.

This time, Rodri J. Rodriguez, President & CEO, IRDOR Inc. & Rodri Entertainment Group will be the keynote speaker during the Latina awards luncheon. Following her, Sylvia Rios, President, First Security Mortgage, will be awarded the “San Diego Latina Entrepreneur of the Year” and recognized by LATINA Style as the first Latina port commissioner of San Diego.

Some of this year’s corporate sponsors include Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and US Bank.

“US Bank is proud to be a corporate partner with LATINA Style in their Business Series teaching Latina entrepreneurs how to access capital,” said Alice Perez, Director of Multicultural Banking of US Bank. “We are also happy to partner with LATINA Style and their Affinity Credit Card that provides scholarships to Hispanic youth across the United States.”

Among the local sponsors are La Prensa San Diego, MANA San Diego, and the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Registration fee of $30 includes seminars, high power networking opportunities in the exhibit area, breakfast, lunch, commemorative gift bag and a two-year subscription to LATINA Style Magazine. Cancellation and early bird registration deadline is Tuesday, April 18. The late fee is $60.

For more information or to register for the San Diego Business Series visit www.bs.latinastyle.com or call 1-800-651-8083.

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