The rise of young entrepreneurs in the 21st century has signaled an important change in the way companies around the world do business. Diverse young entrepreneurs are taking over and showing their predecessors new and exciting ways of getting things done. Social media has a lot to do with helping young people like you start and launch new businesses. The global lockdown also inspired many young entrepreneurs into action. It’s fair to say that the impact of young entrepreneurs on the world’s economy has been enormous – and permanent.
Among those disrupting the now-former status quo are a roster of highly successful and innovative young Latinx entrepreneurs. According to a 2020 study done by the Standford Graduate School of Business, Latinx entrepreneurship is on the rise across all industries and in nearly every state of America!
We’re proud to present a list of just a few young Latinx entrepreneurs from around the world who are shaking things up and making a huge impact.
1. TANIA ZAPATA
Self-professed “unapologetic dreamer,” Tania Zapata was born in Columbia and moved to the United States when she was 18 years old. After working for a while at a Miami-based radio station, this fierce young entrepreneur began, well, entrepreneuring. Among her many achievements, she founded Voice123, BunnyStudio, and Akily. Her inspiration comes from being a “people geek,” and her love of learning. Ms. Zapata is a wonderful example of how personal interests and passions can drive successful entrepreneurship.
2. RAMONA ORTEGA
Investing money, building wealth, and managing finances are not skills that come naturally to everyone. But as a third-generation Mexican-American, Ramona Ortega (aka “The Dinero Diva”) knows that these skills are crucial for young people – especially Black and Latinx people – to learn if they want to help themselves and their communities. That’s why she started My Money, My Future. Their motto? “Money made simple.” Their goal? To get 1 million new Black and Latinx young people to learn the language and fundamentals of finance and investing.
3. RUBEN FLORES-MARTINEZ
Meet a young man who embodies the American dream. As an immigrant from Mexico, Ruben Flores-Martinez graduated valedictorian of his high school class and was courted with scholarships by colleges around the country. Unfortunately, his undocumented status prevented him from attending any of those colleges. Still, he pressed forward and created CashDrop, an app designed to help other young entrepreneurs start their businesses quickly and without requiring a large investment. So far, his business has raised over $2.7 million!
4. BREN HERRERA
One of the most exciting characteristics of young entrepreneurs is the way they fearlessly make themselves the “first” in their fields. Enter Bren Herrera, the first-ever Afro-Latina host of her own cooking show. Like, ever. Over on CleoTV – a channel by and for young women of color – Bren Herrera hosts Culture Kitchen, where she shares her love of cooking Afro-Cuban foods with the world. She’s also an author and traveling social activist, using her success to inspire others!
5. and 6. XAVIER PLADEVALL AND EDUARDO PORTET
Long gone are the days when you have to earn a graduate degree in marketing to understand your company’s data and metrics. Xavier Pladevall and Eduardo Portet, both from the Dominican Republic, recently created a system called Index. The purpose of Index is to make it so that anyone within a company can read and understand the data they collect, from customer demographics to money being spent by customers. Did we mention that their investors include Google and Slack? Pretty impressive!
7. MADELINE FAMILIA
Young entrepreneurs already face multiple hurdles when starting their businesses. Unfortunately for some young entrepreneurs, those hurdles include racism and sexism. This is something Madeline Familia had personal experience with as a young, first-generation Afro-Latina attending college and then coming up in corporate America. Rather than just sitting back and taking it, though, she started her own firm designed to elevate women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Today, Creative Voices PR focuses on diversity-related campaigns and consultations designed to make the world a more welcoming place for everyone.
8. AGUSTINA SARTORI
Anyone who has ever been to Ulta.com is probably familiar with their super-fun try-on tool, GLAMlab. This augmented reality (AR) feature allows customers to “try on” makeup in real-time before making a purchase. And there’s an inspired young Uruguayan behind the fun! As a Latina in tech, Agustina Sartori started by creating her own AR try-on company, GlamST, which was later acquired by Ulta. Agustina Sartori stayed on, and today she continues to help Ulta develop new AR, AI, and machine learning for their customers.
9. PABLO SEGARRA
Growing up as a Puerto Rican in the Bronx, Pablo Segarra felt the crunch of the Latinx diaspora in the United States. The problem, he knew, was that too many children of Latinx immigrants grow up feeling neither “American” enough nor connected to their immigrant roots. That’s why, together with Michael Watson, he co-founded the Latinx Travel Club. Despite the name, the company focuses not only on helping members of the Latinx community discover their heritage but allows interaction across younger generations focused on health, art, food, tech, and other fields.
10. TANYA MENENDEZ
The best businesses grow out of a need to solve a problem. For Mexican-American entrepreneur Tanya Menendez, that problem was connecting entrepreneurs with big ideas to American manufacturers who could make those ideas into realities. And so was born Maker’s Row, a matchmaking service between people with ideas and those who actually create physical products – it’s that simple. But she didn’t stop there. Once Maker’s Row was up and running, Tanya Menendez went on to create Snowball Wealth, a company focused on helping students pay down debt and take control of their finances.
Did you notice anything these young Latinx entrepreneurs have in common? All of them saw needs in their communities and worked hard to fill those needs through innovation and creative thinking. They used their natural strengths, such as cooking or financial know-how, to found companies that now give back and provide inspiration to the next generation of Latinx businesses!
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation, including our college scholarships for young entrepreneurs in Florida, by clicking here. We look forward to your application!