Makinq waves in Silicon Valley: Silicon Valley is the target as Latino leaders work to break the job barrier in the high-tech sector dominated by Ivy League whiz kids and wealthy angel investors.

Author:Swaney, Chriss
 
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A recent power lunch hosted by Latino Magazine Publisher Jorge Ferraez, Tony Lopez of Mass Mutual Financial Group in Palo Alto, Calif., and Frank Carbajal of Es Tiempo, was designed to discuss the chal Blenges and solutions for getting more Latinos involved in the high-tech gold rush so endemic to Silicon Valley. More than 20 Latino leaders from a variety of industry sectors attended the roundtable session dubbed "How to Create Wealth in the Latino Community."

In Silicon Valley tech companies, Latinos comprise a distinct minority, making up just 6 percent of employees versus 22 percent of employment in non-tech firms. Even more striking, Latinos are rare in the ranks of tech entrepreneurs and investors. Less than 1 percent of ventures backed startups with Latino founders, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Power lunch participants agreed that Latinos must make themselves heard. And they must begin talking about their skills and accolades outside of the Hispanic community to garner attention and important networking contacts. Latinos also must encourage their children to major in STEM-related academic courses.

But the most important mantra in the effort to build Latino success in business and Silicon Valley remains wealth creation, according to the power lunch attendees.

Jerry Porras, a professor emeritus at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and chair of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, told luncheon participants about a recent survey that found 70 percent of Latino business owners who report difficulty in accessing capital.

In fact, research by Porras shows that traditional sources of funding such as venture capital, angel investment, debt financing or business bank loans--are almost totally absent from Latino startup activity. Only B. percent of Latino businesses sought commercial loans, while 2.4 percent investigated use of government loans to boost business development.

Through Stanford's Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Latino Business Action Network, Porras has kept important tabs on Latino business activity. For example, of the 3.3 million Latino-operated businesses in the U.S., SO percent are family-owned, employ seven to eight people and generate annual sales of $155,806.

"We need to help make those companies grow and get bigger,"...

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