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Latina works to strengthen Indy Hispanic businesses

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage: Latina works to strengthen Hispanic businesses

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One woman is on a mission to help those new to the United States become first-time business owners.

While immigrant entrepreneurs are a force in the economy, they often face unique challenges when starting a business.

Luckily, in Indianapolis, there’s a Latina who’s helping to change that.

“Sometimes putting ourselves in difficult situations might be difficult at that moment, but there is so much to learn,” said Marcela Montero, the director of the Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council.

Montero knows the difficulties of starting a business all too well.

“Many don’t know. They have the idea about having a business and they don’t know where to go. And so, that’s what we’re trying to do, especially with the Latino business support network, is to make sure we reach a larger audience, and they know exactly which organizations can help them,” she said.

Montero is the director of the Hispanic Business Council (HBC) at the Indy Chamber, a non-profit organization that focuses on fostering the growth, networking, learning, support, engagement, and advocacy of its members within the local small business community and the general population.

Montero says she grew up watching her parents run a business in Ecuador.

Since moving to the U.S. in 2001, she found a new calling.

“My dad passed away, so I saw my mom trying to handle everything. The business, running at home, the family, and things were not perfect, well, anywhere, but it’s even worse in our countries, unfortunately,” Montero said.

After watching her mom, she says that for an immigrant, starting a business in the U.S. can be difficult for various reasons.

“There were not enough resources, not enough resources in Spanish available, and the access to capital was also a hurdle for her, so I’ve witnessed that, and I feel that I am connected with the business community,” Montero said.

That’s why she’s focusing on providing better opportunities and free resources in Spanish and English to support Hispanic businesses in the community.

She says it’s also important for them to build trust.

“Right now, that is one of the goals, especially for next year, is myself and my colleague who has just started working with me to go more out there to the community and talking to businesses so they can feel comfortable connecting with us,” Montero said.

She says the Hispanic Business Council is already planning for more educational and networking events for next year.