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How to Foster the Latino Entrepreneurial Spirit

First Posted: Nov 04, 2013 08:14 PM EST
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Being an entrepreneur in an already competitive landscape may seem daunting to some, especially for many Latinos who aren't graduating with engineering degrees or start-up mentalities, but with a different outlook and approach, you can foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

The founders of "Manos Accelerator" believe that Latinos need help to create a new robust generation of Latino entrepreneurs with programs that provides "hands-on" education, business resources, infrastructure, capital, and guidance for promising startup companies led by Latinos, moving them on to a fast track to success, The Latino Giant reports.

"Manos Accelerator" was the brainchild of Edward Avila, Sylvia Flores and David Lopez. The innovative idea was created "to develop a program that identifies the needs for creating a new attitude to dramatically change the fact that - less than one percent of the startups are founded by Latinos."

In addition, Google for Entrepreneurs stepped up to support Manos Accelerator, "lending its brand to the accelerator program but also lending a hand (a much-needed mano) in the way of connections, market wisdom, access to a long tail of mentors."

Why use the term, "Manos (Hands)?"

"When deciding on a name for the accelerator, the founders did not want something catchy yet culturally insignificant," its official website states. "They wanted a name that identified Latinos as a proud ethnic group that desired and achieved upward mobility. Latino workers and aspiring entrepreneurs do not want to be stereotyped as only taking food service, agricultural, manufacturing, construction, and other blue-collar jobs.

"The founders wanted a name to show the world that Latinos are more than just a pair of "hands" (manos), and capable of so much more. As a result, the name Manos was selected as a motivation for all of the accelerator participants to never forget the hard work and challenges that other Latinos have had before them."

Flores exemplifies a Latina with an entrepreneurial spirit. She was born and raised in San Jose, California, the capital of Silicon Valley, where she flourished as the first engineer of her Mexican-roots family.

Flores has an impressive resume: She worked for IBM during the dotcom era, before pursuing her first start-up, a directory of Latino companies that ultimately pivoted into a tech services provider. In 2003, she worked with President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, to establish a technology incubator for Mexican entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. She also has also served as the Regional National Vice President for the Society of the Hispanic Professional Engineers.

What does it take to be a successful Latino entrepreneur?

According to Flores, a belief in oneself is required. She adds that people become entrepreneurs when "they have a great idea" or "a solution to better the world."

"It takes a lot of courage, to believe in yourself to enter into the entrepreneurial world," she stated.

Flores also points out that one should take failure as a learning experience. "It is ok to fail and never give upon your dreams."

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