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Hispanic Business Owners Inspire Future Entrepreneurs

The intersection of Women Entrepreneurship Week and Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated with a gathering at Lynch Adler Hall 202. The event featured panel discussions led by Hispanic entrepreneurs, including Rider alum Jennifer Lopez, founder of Lopez and Associates Behavior Counseling, and Esther Tanez, founder and owner of E.S.T.I.R. Inc. Attendees were treated to a live demonstration on making empanadas, guacamole, and pico de gallo, along with recipes to take home.

Jennifer Lopez shared her experiences establishing her own business, emphasizing the importance of finding support within the community. She encouraged attendees to “find people in your corner that are going to help and support you.” Esther Tanez highlighted the warmth, love, and community-based nature of the Hispanic community, expressing the importance of authenticity in business.

Sophomore entrepreneurship major Nanci Lazo discussed the challenges of navigating identity in college, feeling sometimes too Hispanic for one group and not Hispanic enough for another. She found events like this reassuring, realizing that it’s okay to be both Hispanic and American.

Sierra Willis, a junior marketing major, found the event constructive as she plans to start her own business in the future. She appreciated hearing from people who have experienced the journey of entrepreneurship and felt encouraged to aim for more.

Jennifer Lopez shared insights from her continuous journey of self-discovery, emphasizing the importance of going at one’s own pace and not rushing. She recently graduated in 2023 with an executive master’s in business administration to enhance her business.

The event provided attendees with shared experiences and personal connections. Nanci Lazo particularly appreciated the personal touch, saying, “What I loved the most is that it wasn’t just talking about information or whatever. We also got close on a personal level. And I feel that’s what made it a wonderful event for me.”

The most emphasized piece of advice from the panelists was to advocate for oneself and establish oneself as an asset. Esther Tanez encouraged attendees to kick doors open and communicate their worth to seize opportunities.

Overall, the event celebrated the achievements and challenges of Hispanic women entrepreneurs, fostering a sense of community and empowerment.

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