The Path to the American Dream of Business Ownership for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

This past weekend I was honored to speak at the annual summit of the Nigerian Muslim Association of Greater Houston. The 3-day summit was held in Lake Livingston, TX.

The event was attended by approximately 130 males aged 15 and above, with the majority between the ages of 30 and 50. Attendees included students, professionals and business owners. They were fathers, sons and brothers. The theme of the summit was Striking the balance – Family, Career, Health and Spirituality

In preparation for this year’s summit, event committee members were requested to include a special session on achieving the American Dream of business ownership. Association members firmly believed the time was right.

In addition to learning about various options for owning a business, members were very interested in learning about franchising and how it could be the right path to business ownership for members of the Nigerian Muslim community.

85 percent of small business owners believe that being your own boss and owning a business is achieving the American Dream.” – Kabbage

As I presented for 40 minutes or so, followed by more than an hour of Q & A, I was quite impressed by the attendees’ high level of attention. Their questions were articulate and well thought out. They were definitely prepared. Many took copious notes. Afterwards, a line of people waited to speak with me. Several set up appointments to get together this week!

All in all, I found the attendees to be extremely passionate about the American Dream and especially the American Dream of business ownership. None appeared to have short-term expectations. Instead, all spoke about long-term goals and about building businesses for their families and for others within their community.

They were certainly looking toward the future. They expressed their thoughts about fully understanding the necessity of starting as soon as possible and then doing whatever it would take to succeed. Saying they were extremely confident would be an understatement

During the drive back home, I reflected upon the event and smiled as I thought about our ongoing commitment to help both current and aspiring entrepreneurs from various immigrant groups. I thought about the common denominator from the group I had just presented to other groups we’re currently working with. Seemingly all have similar dreams, as well as similar mindsets as to what it would take to ensure a better future.

I smiled even more as I thought that despite differences in cultures, languages, and skin colors, the passion for the American Dream of business ownership is consistent from one immigrant group to another.

In short order, my mind shifted to Michael Dermer and The Lonely Entrepreneur, and their project, The Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative. I exclaimed outloud – albeit only to myself – that we really needed to do more to help make that initiative a great success. I also thought that, in time a similar initiative could be developed for other immigrant groups.

As previously mentioned at Acceler8Success Cafe, we’re very excited to partner again with Michael and his organization. May even more so on this project as it perfectly aligns with our goal to continue to build upon a growing list of clients from Mexico and Latin America whose interests focus on entrepreneurship in the U.S.

Yes, The Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative is certainly of major interest to Acceler8Success Group. We are committed to help this initiative succeed. That all said, and for the benefit of anyone who may not be familiar with this initiative, let’s revisit:

The Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative

With a goal of empowering 100,00 Hispanic entrepreneurs, Hispanic entrepreneurs will be provided with free access to The Lonely Entrepreneur Learning Community – a one stop shop for the knowledge, tools and support an individual needs to start or grow a business. This access is provided free due to the financial contributions of corporations, philanthropies, individuals, and economic development organizations. 

Supporters include UPS, Microsoft, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, HISPA and Molson Coors and the initiative has been endorsed by over 50 Hispanic leaders including: 

  • Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. (President, US Hispanic Leadership Institute, Recipient – Presidential Citizen’s Medal) 
  • Luis Ubinas (Investor, Entrepreneur, Past President – Ford Foundation, Past President – Pan American Development Foundation)  
  • Dr. Loui Olivas (Professor Emeriti, W.P. Carey School of Business At Arizona State University)  

The challenges for entrepreneurs in general are great. The challenges for Hispanic entrepreneurs are even greater. And there isn’t just one “Hispanic” entrepreneur – there are entrepreneurs from various countries that face some of the same – but some different – challenges and opportunities.

In addition to lack of access to capital, many Hispanic entrepreneurs possess passion and great ideas but lack access to the knowledge and support they need to succeed.

With the help from corporations, philanthropies, individuals, and economic development organizations, the Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative will change that by putting the tools in the hands of 100,000 Hispanic entrepreneurs.

How it Works

In this initiative, organizations sponsor a certain number of Hispanic entrepreneurs who receive free access to The Lonely Entrepreneur Learning Community – a one stop shop for the knowledge, tools and support a current or aspiring Hispanic entrepreneur needs to start or grow a business. The platform addresses both the business and personal issues Hispanic entrepreneurs face and provides multiple ways for Hispanic entrepreneurs to get the answers they need:

• Knowledge: 500 learning modules that cover both the business and personal issues entrepreneurs face including issues Hispanic entrepreneurs face

• Tools: 100s of templates (e.g., business plans, legal agreements) and reviews of the top vendors and solution providers they need (e.g., accounting software) including Ongoing Support via Two Channels: multiple ways to solve their pressing challenges, Guidance from the TLE Team in Our Community: where entrepreneurs can ask questions and get answers from members of the TLE Team, Group Coaching: entrepreneurs can sign up for an unlimited number of group coaching sessions on the various business and personal issues they face. If they miss sessions, recordings are available for future reference at any time.

• Funding Sources: 150+ funding sources available for entrepreneurs

• Vendors: 50+ vendor reviews, discounts and a list of “vetted vendors” (including some free resources)

• Procurement Opportunities: 150+ opportunities made available by large organizations

• Business and Personal Issues: our program not only covers business issues, but all the personal issues entrepreneurs face (dealing with stress, ego and humility, leading)

• Daily Perspective: an entrepreneurial “tip” sent to every individual each day

• Access: 24/7 access from any desktop or mobile device

Having the Learning Community at every step of the journey significantly increases their chance of success.

No alt text provided for this image

The Needs of Different Hispanic Entrepreneurs

There isn’t just one “Hispanic” entrepreneur. There are native born and immigrant entrepreneurs from various countries that face some of the same – but some different – challenges and opportunities. In addition to providing answers for the issues facing all Hispanic entrepreneurs, the initiative addresses the issues and opportunities faced by the different Hispanic entrepreneurs, including entrepreneurs from: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Spain, El Salvador, and Peru.

Program Supporters

The initiative has gotten off to a fast start with programs launched by major corporations including:

• Microsoft empowering Hispanic entrepreneurs in El Paso Texas as reported in El Diario Mx and on television

• UPS launching its program at the L’Attitude 2021 conference to empower Hispanic entrepreneurs

• US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Benefits of the Program

There are multiple benefits to the program:

• Help Entrepreneurs: provide individuals with the knowledge, tools and support they need

• Proven Success: the program has been implemented successfully by a vast array of corporations, governments and charitable organizations

• Scalability: the ability to put the tools in the hands of a large number of individuals quickly

• Branding: various elements of the program would be branded including landing pages, access to the leaning assets and a group in the online community.

• Minimal Effort on Your Part: the program is turn-key and is executed with minimal lift on your part

• Turn-Key Execution: you are investing in a program that delivers turn-key execution

• Marketing Opportunities: making a program like this available and the success stories that come from it are powerful marketing opportunities

• Flexibility: to apply to the specific type, geography or group of entrepreneurs

• Measurement: the ability to measure activity and impact of the program

The program provides the opportunity to quickly get tools in the hands of a large number of current and aspiring small business owners.

Integrated Marketing to Highlight Impact

The TLE Team works with supporter marketing teams to maximize the impact on their public image:

• Public Relations: coordinated communications with media outlets to highlight supporter efforts

• Social Media: ongoing social media activities to show the impact supporter is having

• Success Stories: to be used in marketing and to inspire supporter audiences

Endorsements from Leaders

A coalition of stewards of the Hispanic community have endorsed the Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative:

• Yvette Donado (former Chief Diversity Officer of ETS; Hispanic Magazine, 50 Most Influential Hispanics)

• Marcel Portmann (Latin America Advisor for +70 global brands; liaison to Inter-American Development Bank (IADB); former Vice President of Emerging Markets, International Franchise)

• Dr. Pilar Nava-Parada, (Philanthropist and Leader For Women Entrepreneurs with Mexican Origin)

• Dr. Joy Nicole Martínez (Raised $240m for nonprofits; inaugural member of Peace50 Community; Director, World Woman Foundation)

• Andrés Guardado, (Mexican Football star and his wife Sandra De La Vega)

• Sheila Ivelisse Borges, (Managing Director, Research, at Rutgers University; former Assistant Director – NYU Adjunct Professor/STEM Educator/Diversity & Equity – Columbia University in New York City)

• Gabriel Brodbar, (Social Impact Leader; former Executive Director, NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program)

• Nepherter Estrada (Charlotte Business Journal 40 Under 40 Honoree)

• Catherine Milone, (President, Junior Achievement of New Jersey)

• Ivonne Díaz-Claisse (Founder/CEO, Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA)

…and other notable Hispanic leaders.

Measuring the Impact

Three different areas are measured to ensure that current and aspiring entrepreneurs are getting the value of the Learning Community and moving toward the achievement of business results:

• Engagement – engage with the Learning Community and fellow entrepreneurs

• Achieve Key Business Activities – achieve business activities and improvements that are necessary steppingstones to achieving business results (e.g., form a company, prepare financials)

• Achieve Business Results – achieve key business results (e.g., increase revenue)

Each day, entrepreneurs in the program improve their chance of success.

No alt text provided for this image

For more information about this exciting initiative, please reach out to me or Acceler8Success Group president, Erik Premont on LinkedIn. Or, if you prefer, please send either of us an email to or We look forward to helping to make a difference for Hispanic Entrepreneurs, as well as for all Immigrant Entrepreneurs!

Have a great day. make it happen. make it count!