It’s no secret that Latinas know how to hustle. The number of Latinx-owned businesses has increased 34% over the past 10 years, according to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, but less than 2% of venture capital goes to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, according to Black & Brown Founders. Since its creation in 2017, the organization has provided education and tools for these entrepreneurs to launch startups without relying on venture capital.
According to The National Center for Women & Information Technology, 26% of computing jobs in the U.S. were held by women in 2019, but only 2% were held by Latinas. In Google’s 2019 annual diversity report, the company saw an increase in new women hires at 34.9% in the U.S., but only 2.7% of the new hires were Latinas.
Black & Brown Founders is hosting the upcoming CHROMA, a virtual conference featuring over 50 U.S. and international Black and Latinx tech entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders who will share their experiences, knowledge, and strategies. You can attend virtually for free during the run of the conference from September 28 to October 2 when you register at chroma2020.com.
Luz Collective got inspiring insights from three of the entrepreneurs that will be speaking at CHROMA and we’re passing on their tips to you.
- Francesca Escoto
Founder and CEO of Brava Management Consulting Francesca Escoto has built her career as an entrepreneur in various industries from fitness to software. As a young-looking Latina in male-dominated industries, she found herself not being taken seriously.
“I learned that I had to bring my A-game every time,” Escoto told Luz Collective. “I had zero time to hide my brilliance in the workplace.”
Escoto’s passion is to help people make an impact in the world through innovation.
“When people create a business, they literally change the rules of the game and create a better world for themselves, their employees, their clients, and the communities where they operate,” Escoto said.
Some practical tips she wishes she knew when she was starting out are:
- Love is what matters most.
- You can do it all, just not at the same time.
- Not everything is worth doing perfectly. Sometimes “good enough” is good enough.
Francesca’s session, Founders & CEOs: How Are You Leading The Revolution?, is on Monday, September 28, at 10:30 a.m. PST.
- Lucy Flores
“The biggest drive I have is attempting to give to others, especially Latinas, what I never had throughout most of my career,” says Luz Creative’s CEO and co-founder Lucy Flores. “I needed Latina mentorship, Latina support (real support not BS words but no actions), and Latina role models, so that’s what I try to provide to others not just personally, but also through my digital media brand Luz Collective.”
Lucy shares what she wished she knew when she embarked on the CEO journey:
- Things don’t necessarily become easier, they just become different. When you’re constantly striving to improve and reach new heights, we think that things will be “easier.’ Some things do become easier, but because we’re always leveling up, we’re constantly coming up against new challenges. What was hard before becomes easy, and the new things are hard once again. This cycle then repeats itself. This is OK. But just know that if you’re not a fan of constant challenge, entrepreneurship will probably be very difficult for you.
- Learn to master your own pace and your own timeline. It’s so easy to get caught up on who is achieving what and at what pace. Everyone has their own journey and their own trajectory. Don’t let comparisons diminish your accomplishments. Focus on your own growth and as long as you know you are giving it your all, success and progress will come at the times that are right, and that are meant for you.
- No matter what state you live in, you will spend an inordinate amount of time on administrative functions like city, state and federal requirements and rules. Don’t get lazy with this. Being mad at how archaic government red tape is won’t make it go away and if you get behind or miss a filing or don’t respond to an inquiry not only do you potentially risk wasting money on fines, but you waste extra time trying to clear everything up. Don’t be lazy. It will cost you.
Catch Lucy’s session Beauty + Tech = Opportunity, on Wednesday, September 30, at 9:30 a.m. PST.
- Carmen Palafox
To overcome obstacles in her career in investment management, Carmen Palafox uses the mindset that snowboarders and cyclists use to ride through trees or cars respectively.
“I’ve learned to focus on where I want to go, the open space, and find gaps that are wide enough to get through,” Palafox told Luz Collective. “In those activities, if you focus on obstacles you will crash and burn.”
Palafox, a Managing Partner for MiLA Capital, invests in pre-seed and seed stage tech startups through a venture capital fund. She loves investing in founders that are mission-driven and can lead through good and bad times.
“I thrive on helping startups get to that next mile marker,” Palafox said.
Here are some practical tips she wishes she knew when she was starting out:
- Spend cash wisely based on what you value the most. “I’m constrained by capital and time but will never sacrifice quality or ethics when I engage with partners or platforms.”
- Find a community that you trust and one that balances give and take.
- Consume media from diverse authors. A few suggestions include Luz Collective, LatinxVCs, anyone from Visionary Voices.
- Play offline.
- Invest in gear to work from home.
Carmen’s talk, Raising Pre-Seed and Seed from Venture Capitalists, is on Thursday, October 1, at 11 a.m. PST.