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Collaboration aids Latino entrepreneurs

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The Lehigh University Small Business Development Center has collaborated with National Penn Bank, Kutztown University’s Latino Business Resource Center and the Fowler Center at Northampton Community College to offer the program “Business Skills for Success for Latino Entrepreneurs.”

“The idea is to give tools for Latino business leaders for developing their business plan,” said Carolina Martinez, director of the Latino Business Resource Center. “We are offering the training in Spanish for them. We have a huge number of online classes that they can benefit from.”

The seminar series taught in Spanish is designed to help participants develop their business concept and teach them the skills and knowledge required for business success.

Eighty-four percent of the participants who launched businesses were still operating after a year, in contrast to the national trend where 80 percent of new businesses fail in their first 12 months.

Potential participants are invited to attend the information session on April 24 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Northampton Community College’s Fowler Center, 511 E. Third St., Bethlehem, to register for the classes on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. Classes run for eight weeks at the Fowler Southside Center, and there are no fees to participate.

This project is financed, in part, by a grant from the Small Business Administration, the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development and National Penn Bank.

For information, visit the LBRC website at www.kulbrc.org or contact Martinez at 610-758-2140, 484-646-4013 or martinez@kutztown.edu.

The goal is to connect participants to successful business owners to help them create a successful business plan, Martinez said.

National Penn Bank, which became involved in 2007, saw it as a great collaboration to offer in-depth training and counseling on how to start a business, said Chuck Weinmann, vice president and Community Reinvestment Act officer for National Penn.

Weinmann, who works at National Penn’s downtown Allentown office at PPL Plaza, said people often get so excited about starting a business that they forget the most important part: the business plan. He described this as an entrepreneur’s “roadmap to your success.”

The program also works with entrepreneurs on issues such as cash flow, whether some businesses are riskier than others and what types of loans are available.

“We want to help in any way we can; we’re behind it 100 percent,” Weinmann said.

Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it. Brian also has a strong interest in health and fitness. He works part-time as a personal trainer at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem and earned his personal fitness trainer certification from World Instructor Training Schools.

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