University Times

Is entrepreneurship the way to liberate Latino laborers?

Jackelinne Morales, Contributing Writer

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 Wilfredo Rodriguez, a young Latino living in South Central Los Angeles, was working in the same full-time job painting for many years.

 

He worked hard, knew how to do his job well and at some point, he was tired of letting someone else make a large profit of the extra work he was putting in. He wanted to start his own business.

 

 At first it was very difficult because as he did not know much about how to advertise his skills, so he started slow and very small. Eventually, people started noticing his work and started spreading the word. He then started learning new skills, and started doing a variety of different jobs.

 

  He now has nine employees and has been working independently and running his own company for over 20 years.

 

“It’s important to know what kind of service you want to provide, to master it, and be very very focused,” he said. “Time and good work will take care of the rest.”

 

  Rodriguez is one of the many Latinos who have forged their own path into the world of business. For Latinos and other immigrants, it can be very difficult to find guidance or financial resources to start their own business or company, especially those from low-income communities, experts say. Many work in difficult conditions or manual labor jobs that can take a toll on their health. Having their own business allows them to escape those conditions and control their own destinies; In short, it’s a way to ensure the hard work they put into their jobs truly pays off financially.

 

   The Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative estimates that 4.6 million Latinos own businesses in the United States, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

 

Resources — such as mentoring and loans — for small business owners and those who want to start their own ventures is available at www.business.lacity.org/content/score-la and http://pacelabdc.org/about-us-community-development/.

 

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