(BPT) - Sponsored by Office Depot
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15 - an important time to honor the rich history, heritage and cultures of Hispanic and Latino Americans. One way to do this is to recognize and support Hispanic-owned small businesses in your community, which not only enhance local neighborhoods, but also help to inspire the next generation of great entrepreneurs.
Being a small business owner is a dream for many but can also come with challenges. According to a survey of female small business owners conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Office Depot, a crucial component to business success is having access to funding and other vital resources. Survey respondents cited lacking funds (47%) as one of the toughest hurdles to overcome, especially for women of color, with over half (53%) reporting that there weren't enough resources available to them along their entrepreneurial journey.
Fortunately, helping businesses start, manage and grow is at the heart of Office Depot's mission. From signs, posters and banners to get businesses noticed to the latest in tech products, office furniture and more, Office Depot offers a full suite of business products, services and solutions to help small businesses succeed.
In addition, the company helped to launch Elevate Together® powered by Round It Up America®, a nonprofit initiative designed to help accelerate the creation, growth, and prosperity of Black and Hispanic small businesses with five employees or less. In partnership with the National Urban League's Entrepreneurship Centers and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the program offers eligible small business owners access to educational workshops, training and mentorship services, professional networks and more. Participating businesses may also be eligible to receive aid in the form of cash grants, products and services. Through this program, more than 250 cash grants have been provided to Black- and Hispanic-owned small businesses to help them continue to innovate, grow and prosper.
During National Hispanic Heritage Month, Hispanic-owned small businesses who received a cash grant from the Elevate Together program will be featured on ElevateTogether.org each day from September 15 to October 15. To learn more about some of these business owners, and advice they have for other entrepreneurs starting a new business, check out the tips below:
Be proud of who you are
'A lot of good business ideas die before they're even started because we fear failure, we fear the hardships that come with it, but we are totally capable of enduring anything thrown our way,' said Radhi Fernandez, The FAIYA Company. 'We should be proud of who we are, proud of where we come from, and we should show the world what we are capable of."
Tap into sweat equity
'At first you don't need money, you need time, also known as sweat equity, to research. Every day, learn something new about the industry, systems, what others are doing, marketing, accounting, business credit, etc. Secondly, understand that your friends and family are not your clients, they can be supporters but don't let that get you down if and/or when they don't support,' said Felipa Cespedes, FotoGenic Photo Booths.
Make networking a priority
"Always have a business card and go to as many networking events as you can - morning and evening. Always be early and on time, never be late," said Luis Arandia, Arandia Designs LLC. "I started from the ground up. I did not have any financial backers when I initially established my business on my own."
Be prepared and pay it forward
'Join the Elevate Together® program to be connected to amazing mentors that can help guide you in creating proper business plans. Read the book E-Myth! Always pay it forward. Keep your eye on the ball ... reach your goals, surpass your goals and keep working on your business to make it a well-oiled machine,' said Shelly Nunez, Celebrity Lashes & Makeup.
Save time and save money at Office Depot
Office Depot helps to support businesses at every stage with the products and services they need to succeed and quick and convenient delivery options for online orders, including in-store and curbside pickup available at most Office Depot and OfficeMax stores in just 20 minutes. Office Depot also offers a free Rewards Program, where members can earn 2% back in rewards on qualifying purchases of supplies, furniture, technology and more. Members can also take advantage of promotions that are available to Rewards members only, like instant pricing discounts through Rewards member pricing events or bonus rewards promotions, where rewards that are earned are paid out the very next day.