The Credit Junction interviewed Tiq Chapa, the Program Manager at the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Center for Entrepreneurial Studies which explores the Latino segment of our economy through research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration.
1. Can you explain what the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) is and how it is helping the Hispanic community?
SLEI is a research initiative - it is a collaboration between Stanford University and The Latino Business Action Network-a 501(c)3. SLELP - Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program - a program led by Stanford faculty which includes: in-person workshops and lectures, mentorship, capital providers and a 6-week online curriculum focused on growing and scaling your business. The majority of businesses in all 3 of our 80 business cohorts are $1m+ year in revenues and/or have raised $500k+ of external capital. We plan to host 2 cohorts of 80 Latino entrepreneurs annually. January 18th, 2017 we are hosting "The State of Latino Entrepreneurship" at Stanford University - sharing our annual research results.
Find an overview of the initiative, here.
2. As someone who helps and speaks to Hispanic small business owners, how would you describe the small business landscape in the USA today?
Our small and medium sized businesses are growing! Nearly 1/4 or new businesses formed are Latin@ led. We are excited to be a part of supporting our Latin@ MBE's that are $1m+ in revenues and help them to be $10m, 100m and $1bn companies!
3. What are some of the biggest challenges that Hispanic entrepreneurs and small business owners face in the country today?
Access to growth capital and mentorship! Many Latin@'s self-finance to begin their business - but once they get to the $1m+ stage need support and growth capital to grow to be large regional and national businesses.
4. When you look at the small business landscape, it is said that minority- owned businesses are going to become the majority in the next 5 to 10 years. What do you think is driving this increase?
We want to make sure minority led businesses are creating the most opportunities for their employees and regions. In academia, Dr. Alberto Dávila and others discuss the push/pull factors that lead entrepreneurs to create companies. While business "starts" and creation are increasingly led by people of color - we also want to help ensure these businesses grow and persevere to drive hiring and our economy forward.
5. For Hispanic small business owner, what are the advantages of being a part of the SLEI?
The Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program strives to ensure our business owners have the mindset, skills, access to capital and networks they need to be $100m and $1bn companies! We make direct introductions to leaders in our companies respective spaces and our active alumni community works to ensure we "Do business together and get business for each other!"
6. Do you have any parting words or advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs in general?
Develop investor mentors and relationships with peers who have raised growth capital. Be able to make the case that if you take on X dollars that will lead to Y revenue increases for your business. Whether you are raising capital or not - these conversations and frameworks will help you think critically about your business and help you have the data in place to decide the rate at which you want to grow!
Also - know one should know your customers better than you! Whether CEO/Founder or at any level of your company - the more you know about your target customer and their needs the better.