Emprendimiento Latino 5M, Iowa City

Two years ago, Marcela Hurtado, Marlen Mendoza, Maria Teresa, Maria Cachua, and Janet Marcelino started their business, Emprendimiento Latino 5M, in Iowa City, Iowa. The five were enjoying coffee together and discussing their personal business endeavors when they realized how hard it is to navigate the business world. It is especially hard if English is your second language and you are not familiar with the existing resources in the city and county. To solve this problem, the group decided to open their business to build and strengthen the Latino Business community and help immigrant entrepreneurs achieve the American Dream.

Emprendimiento Latino 5M is a business organization for the Latino and Hispanic communities. They offer A Spanish education workshops series, translation services, technical assistance with navigating permits to start your business, and community networking opportunities to nurture and grow the Latino business community.  The owners prioritize assisting their clients in any way they can, stating, “We know that the entrepreneurial path is not easy, and a lot of support and determination is needed. We noticed that there is no dedicated program for Latino entrepreneurship in Spanish or a community for Latino entrepreneurs who want to meet other Latino business owners, attend business education workshops, and receive technical assistance in Spanish. There are many Latino businesses in Iowa City and even more people who need a little support to start and launch their businesses.” Emprendimiento Latino Owners feel that The most rewarding part of their business is meeting new, current, and past Latino business owners and hearing their stories, stating,  “It’s a beautiful feeling to know that you are helping your community and making a difference.”

Victor Oyervides, the Minority Business Development Counselor for Iowa’s SBDC has been a great help to Emprendimiento Latino 5M. The owners are grateful for the work he has done with them, stating, “We could not have done this work without the guidance and unconditional support of Victor Oyervides with Iowa State Extension Office. Victor helped us do a Business Model Canvas workshop when we needed help with our individual business endeavors. When we decided to form a collective business, Victor connected us to the right people to keep going and regularly checked in with us to provide support and strategic guidance and believed in us and our idea.”

Regarding advice for other potential entrepreneurs, the five owners encourage people not to wait for someone else to create the thing they need but to create it themselves, stating, “If you have an idea or vision and it does not exist in your environment, this is a sign that you need to create it! Once you put your idea out in the world, you will be surprised to see how the universe responds and sends you the right people, connections, and key partners to keep going.”

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