Hispanic entrepreneurs go Online for new business resources

MIAMI, FL — More and more Hispanics are dreaming of starting their own businesses. As the largest minority group in the country, Hispanics comprise nearly 42 percent of all minority business. By 2007, it is estimated that one in every 10 small businesses will be Hispanic.

As these entrepreneurs begin to consider placing “Open For Business” signs in their local town or home office, they are facing an all-new situation with tremendous risks. They have unique questions and concerns, but are often uncertain of where they can turn for quality advice. Hispanic entrepreneurs can now put a great deal of their anxiety to rest with a little help from their personal computer and Internet access. A Spanish language Web site known as Mi Negocio is the first Hispanic entrepreneurial resource of its kind.

Mi Negocio was created by Ford Motor Company, is powered by AOL(R) Latino – the largest Internet service for U.S. Hispanics. It can be reached at www.ford.com/minegocio or by the AOL(R) keyword Mi Negocio. The site links visitors to advice from high-profile Hispanic business experts through interactive chats and on-demand panel discussions. It also provides an entrepreneurial tool kit for marketing, sales and service and taps key resources from Time Inc., including articles from FORTUNE Magazine, Business 2.0 and FORTUNE Small Business.

“We are proud to help Hispanic entrepreneurs access the resources they need to succeed, and the new hub is a key component for promoting economic success in the Hispanic community,” said Nick Scheele, president of Ford Motor Company.

Louis Barajas, Hispanic author of the book El Camino a la Grandeza Financiera: Los 10 Pasos Para Crear Riqueza, Seguridad y un Futuro Prospero Para Usted y su Familia, serves as the small business expert on the site. He works hard to inform Hispanics of the risks involved with start-up businesses especially when roughly 80% of small businesses fail in the first five years.

“The quality of visitor questions on Mi Negocio demonstrates that Hispanics are beginning to take the idea of entrepreneurship very seriously,” says Barajas. “I am glad that I can help in putting Hispanics on the right path to financial greatness and that this pioneering site is prospering.”

The Mi Negocio Board Series symposiums have also proven to be a valuable part of the website experience. The symposium discussions are available in an on-demand format and features Roberto Madrazo, director of multicultural merchandising, Target stores; Kim Casiano, president and COO of Casiano Communications and board member of Ford Motor Company and of course Louis Barajas, author and founder of Financial Greatness Inc.

Los Angeles, Miami and Austin served as host cities for the Board Series discussions. The topics included Business Planning 101, Developing and Sustaining a Marketing Plan and Building Strategies for Ultimate Business Success. Each discussion featured an in-depth question and answer session with the Hispanic community in these areas.

The topics of the Board Series discussion include: Business Planning 101, Developing and Sustaining a Marketing Plan and Building Strategies for Ultimate Business Success with engaging questions and answers sessions for the Hispanic community in Los Angeles, Miami and Austin.

“The Mi Negocio website and Board Series symposiums are excellent learning tools,” said Danny Zeloaker, a Hispanic sales manager for AED Now, a growing automatic external defibrillator distributor in South Florida. “Being able to discuss these subjects with these Hispanic business experts has provided me with some quality insights for my growing business.”

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