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Intelligencer Journal

Latino Notes

Business Survey Paints Bright Future For Minority Women

By Enelly Betancourt

April 17, 2002
Copyright © 2002
Lancaster Newspapers. All Rights Reserved.

The future looks brighter than ever for Hispanic businesswomen. No U.S. demographic group starts as many businesses as Hispanic women.

The boom in Hispanic businesses is reflected in statistics provided by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners.

Figures show minority women are starting businesses at a faster rate than minority men, and businesses owned by minority women are doing better than those of minority men.

The number of female-owned businesses increased 31.5 percent last year, four times the national average. Likewise, 20 percent of female-owned businesses belong to minority-group women.

In the United States, 470,000 businesses are owned by Hispanic women, 365,110 by black women and 458,503 by Asian women.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, women-owned businesses employ nine million people and earn $150 billion a year. Among them, those owned by Hispanic women employ almost 198,000 people and contribute $29.4 billion a year to the U.S. economy.

For some of these entrepreneurs the biggest boost came from technological advances and the support of peers.

"There's more information available, as well as support from groups as chambers of commerce, because training and education are essential to success. It's all about doing your homework and looking into it really well before you get started," according to businesswoman Lillian Escobar-Haskins, creative director of a Lancaster marketing firm.

But some barriers remain for many Hispanic women who are lagging in access to technology.

"Accessing the new technology may be a slow process for some women, but they'll get there. In my business, technology advances are God-sent," Escobar said.

Other handicaps are economic status , cultural attitudes and difficulty obtaining investment capital.

These entrepreneurs and thousands upon thousands like them are part of the remarkable success story of minority business across America.

Never before have minority businesses played such a significant role in the nation or had such a stake in its future. Today's new minority entrepreneurs are not just more numerous than their predecessors, but also more sophisticated. Mobilizing their now- considerable experience as managers in the corporate world, they have leaped beyond traditional minority industries and are opening ad agencies, consulting firms, graphic and design shops and publishing ventures - to name just a few.

Many are a solid part of the major industries that drive the nation's economy. And more are certainly on the way, as the growing number of minorities who work in professional and managerial jobs enriches the talent pool of potential entrepreneurs.


Lancaster city police Officer Jose DeLaTorre is the new Lancaster DID community police officer for downtown Lancaster.

DeLaTorre is an eight-year veteran of the Lancaster Bureau of Police and has been platoon officer for the DID for the past two years. Officer DeLaTorre joins nine-year DID community police Officer Don Erb.

A graduate of McCaskey High School, DeLaTorre attended Harrisburg Area Community College and was sworn as an officer in May 1994.

DID executive director Jan Beitzer said, "I look forward to Officer DeLaTorre continuing his outstanding work for the businesses, residents and visitors in downtown Lancaster. He cares about ensuring that downtown Lancaster is a safe and friendly place to work, live and play."

Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, DeLaTorre moved to Pennsylvania with his family at the age of four and has been a resident of Lancaster County since their arrival.

"Downtown is a very diverse area and I enjoy meeting people of different backgrounds," DeLaTorre said.

Police officers assigned to the DID are on bike in order to be more accessible to business owners, residents and visitors. The bike patrols also ensure more effective policing of the small alleyways that are throughout downtown Lancaster.


CULTURE FESTA celebration of cultures will be held at the Lancaster Campus of the Harrisburg Area Community College in Bridgeport on Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. in the Community Room.

"Seeing the World Through Different Eyes: A Multicultural Experience" will feature: Mojibul Maula, a professor at the Lancaster Campus who will offer an insight into the Indian culture; Erica Shirk, author of "One Farm, Two Wars, Three Generations," who will discuss the story of her family and their struggles through two wars including WWII.

Father Gerry Burns, coordinator of the Irish Outreach Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will be speaking on the Irish culture.

Quay Hanna, author of "Busing America," will be sharing his experiences growing up in a white supremacist environment.

Kyle D. Morris Sr. will provide a writing and poetry workshop, and Janet Peck's African Dance Group will demonstrate and instruct the African dances.

The keynote speaker for this event is Sol B. Vazquez Otero of the State System of Higher Education. Vazquez Otero is assistant director for social equity and director of the Latino Academy. As a youth advocate, she encourages the use of visual and performing arts as a method of giving young Latinos a voice in their communities.

The celebration of cultures is free and open to the public. For more information contact Warren Bair at HACC at 358-2850.

This column appears on alternate Wednesday's and is written by Enelly Betancourt, editor of La Voz Hispana for Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. Readers can reach her at

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