Diana Franco, the executive director of WE NYC, a city government program that provides support services for women entrepreneurs, says that an estimated 35%-40% of the more than 9,000 participants in the program since 2015 have been Hispanic. And the number of firms owned by women of color has increased at about double the rate of female-owned businesses overall since 2014, according to a 2019 report by American Express.

Ramona Cedeño, 43, started her business called FiBrick Financial Services in New York four years ago, after coming to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when she was 18. Her first job was in a shoe store as she helped her mother pay the rent and save money to bring her three sisters to America, she says.

“My mother was always entrepreneurial –- she always had a side business at home,” says Cedeño, who’s a certified public accountant with an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

For Latinas, the impulse to go to school and work, as with many immigrant groups, often comes from watching their parents sacrifice as their families struggled to find a foothold in the economy.

“For us, failure means literally being on the street,” says Leslie Rangel, the daughter of Mexican immigrants who lives in Austin.

Rangel lived in a homeless shelter at age 8. That left an indelible mark on the 30-year-old TV anchor. “I knew that college would equal never being homeless again,” she says.

Looking at the women cleaning her office in the evening, Rangel says she has this thought: “I could be you; they could be me. We’re just one opportunity apart.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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