Access to Capital: Panel

A conversation with Luis Maizel & Ramon Cepeda

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It’s no secret that the spirit of entrepreneurship and the impulse to succeed are prominent attributes of the Latino community. However, the lack of resources has been a barrier for many. More specifically, the lack of access to capital has signaled a “dead end” for a lot. Fortunately, financial institutions have extended aid to those who are committed to developing a successful business. Latino Leaders magazine has connected with two professionals in this industry that are ready to widen the bridge of opportunities for business owners. They have provided insight and guidance to facilitate the development of Latino entrepreneurship and enterprise establishment.


Latino Leaders- The Hispanic Community is recognized as one with the highest levels of entrepreneurship, how do you explain this?

Luis Maizel: The need to “make it” is the biggest driver of entrepreneurship. Latinos want independence, a better life, and they don’t trust the general population to be helpful in becoming successful so they attempt it on their own.

Ramon Cepeda: I believe this is an immigrant mindset that is amplified within the Hispanic Community because we are so large, but Hispanics incorporate so many aspects of our culture into our professional careers. We see it as a vehicle through which we can improve our lives and that of our families. We have a unique perspective having come here recently, we see the opportunity as much more attainable and we also see it as the ultimate goal.


LL- What do you see as big challenges for the medium and small sized Latino companies when it comes to get Capital to fund the business?

LM:  Banks and funds tend to give out umbrellas when it is sunny and pick them up when it starts sprinkling. There is a definite bias against small businesses as they need to finance mostly ideas, not assets and the wrong perception that Latinos are sloppy and less organized makes getting money very difficult.

RC: It’s difficult to build up credit and provide financials worth of securing business loans and lines of credit needed to grow.


LL- Are there any alternatives, that are not major financial institutions, for small business funding?

LM: Community banks specializing in SBA loans, investment clubs, and savvy angels are the best sources of financing.

RC: Depending on the life cycle of the business, you can start with a micro lender such as ACCION, which finances loans from $10,000 to $100,000. ACCION happens to be a nonprofit, but there are many non-bank financial institutions and crowdfunding. All lending is local, so it depends on your market, but there are many crowdfunding platforms. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are popular.


LL-Do you know of any other cases in which financing has been part of a strategy to advance part of the economy?

LM: Japan and Finland are good examples of the Government using subsidized financing to direct specific fields of growth, in many cases allowing small business to participate.

RC: I don’t have any examples of this, but generally speaking, making credit available to all businesses has to be at the center of any larger strategic plan for the growth of the economy. Small businesses traditionally hire the most amount of people, which is the engine for growth.


There’s more to this interview! Check out our Print and Digital edtion!