Few things in life are as integral to any given community as the small business; providing the immediate needs for a group of people, reflecting the best of human interaction, and forming bonds that would not happen otherwise. This is especially true with Latine-owned businesses, where the very fabric of each community is reflected on the type of products and services these people provide and affect their neighbors directly, a group that has since expanded to the online world. Remezcla is proud to bring us the stories of these community changemakers in Jefeando, a series that spotlights Latine small business owners and their importance to the culture. These businesses are part of Meta Elevate, a community and learning platform that provides Black and Latine & Hispanic entrepreneurs free digital workshops, 1:1 support, digital skills training, scholarships, and an active online community.
Community is central to Latines everywhere in the world. Sticking together is not just a survival mechanism but also a way to bring the best of each other and provide us with joy in harmony with our surroundings. Going the extra mile is vital for Latine entrepreneurs to give back to those less fortunate and better our relationship with the environment. This way, commerce becomes revolutionary.
It’s also a risky endeavor. Small businesses are prey to various obstacles that keep them from becoming stable and profitable and reaching a higher level of success. This reality has been further complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, changing the world in ways that have proved hard for many businesses to overcome. Without direct support, they have faced some tough times. The outlook has seemed beyond futile.
Many small business owners have searched for ways to keep themselves and those around them afloat. That’s where technology has come to the rescue. The easy access and online tools has made it possible for non-corporations to find customers, investors, and such to their attention and find new and fascinating ways to adapt to a new reality. Social media has made it possible to bring people behind the storefront or the app link to let them know there’s more than meets the eye.
Here we present three Latine-owned businesses that respond to different necessities. While each is particular to their product and service, they all share a love for their customers, a desire to give back to those in need, and use the internet to the fullest of its capabilities. They are part of the Elevate community, which offers “Black and Latine & Hispanic business owners and communities the resources, education, and support to help support [their] goals.” Elevate represents a boost to their hard work and business strategies, offering free digital skills training, community building via the Meta Elevate Facebook group, one-on-one support, and coaching.
Yo Quiero Dinero Podcast
The day Jannese Torres-Rodriguez got fired was one of the most important days of her life. As she recounts, she had never been fired from a job before, so she remembers running home and crying. Then it hit her: this turn of events was a bigger opportunity than she had realized. She now had the freedom to pursue her side hustle, a decision that changed her life completely. Exploring her passion for financial advisory and growth, she started Yo Quiero Dinero. The platform connects POC and Latine change-makers with one another, bringing forth their inspiring stories for everyone wanting their money to grow and valuable pieces of advice to achieve this goal, which you’ll find all over her social media. This initiative includes a podcast in which financial experts talk about their experiences and offers courses, webinars, and coaching, as well as a quiz that will help you find the perfect side hustle for you to pursue your dreams. “Community is a hallmark of what we are as Latinos,” says Torres-Rodriguez. “Everything that we do […] it’s not just about us.”
Back Of The Yard Coffee Co.
There was a moment when co-founders Jesse Iñiguez and Mayra Hernandez thought their dream of establishing a forward-thinking business in Chicago’s Southside was slipping out of their hands. After a joint venture fell through, Hernandez learned to make cold brew from a recipe she found online. That one recipe would manifest a dream: The idea of opening a new coffeehouse became a likelier reality again when an acquaintance helped them secure coffee from Chiapas, which enabled Hernandez and Iñiguez to start a subscription service. They found a locale and opened Back Of The Yard, making it their mission to rehabilitate the image of their side of the city. To achieve this, they regularly make fundraisers for various causes that directly affect their surroundings and host cultural events when possible, all under the ethics of S.E.E.D: Social impact, economic development, ecological responsibility, and direct relationships — all initiatives that they are able to promote on the internet to get more eyes within their community. “We love this community,” says Iñiguez. “We want to be a part of [its] social fabric.”
One of the industries that caught the harsher effects of COVID-19 was the traveling industry. As countries shut their borders and took other measures to stop spreading the disease, visiting a place beyond your living room became an impossible dream. For Susana Zazueta, this was a problem. An entrepreneur who manages branding and marketing duties for toy companies, Zazueta is also passionate about traveling, which led her to developing Discoverlist. This app recommends hotspots to friends visiting different countries around the world. Discoverlist lets you share photos, write bucket lists for your destinations, and befriend other people — making it possible for cultures to be exposed and others to respect and accept each other. When COVID-19 hit, Discoverlist turned to different ways of taking their customers on a journey, organizing virtual tours called Travel From Home and starting the I Want To Travel podcast to discuss the industry’s future.
If you are a small business owner, join Meta Elevate; a community and learning platform that provides Black and Latine & Hispanic members free digital workshops, 1:1 support, digital skills training, scholarships, and an active online community. Visit Meta Elevate for resources and more information.