OTTUMWA, Iowa – A newsletter launched with the help of Iowa State University Extension is keeping Latino business owners in Iowa informed on business topics. Launched in May 2006, Negocio Latino (Latino Business) is published bimonthly in Spanish.
Negocio Latino was originally established for a network of Latino entrepreneurs in Ottumwa by Tom Quinn, who was an ISU Extension community development field specialist, and Himar Hernandez, who at the time was the director of the New Iowan Center in Southeast Iowa and has since joined Extension to replace Quinn, who is retired. The Ottumwa Latino Business Network was originally funded by a grant from the University of Nebraska to study business networks in rural areas.
Since the newsletter started, the Ottumwa Latino Business Network has expanded into the Southeast Iowa Latino Business Network and includes businesses in Bloomfield, Oskaloosa and Mount Pleasant. As a result, Hernandez expanded the scope of Negocio Latino to include all of Southeast Iowa. The network includes 19 Latino businesses.
In August 2007, Hernandez assisted Latino businesses in Central Iowa—including Toledo, Des Moines, and Perry—in forming a Latino business network in Central Iowa. To date the network includes nine businesses in Perry and five in Des Moines. Hernandez plans to distribute a version of Negocio Latino to these Central Iowa businesses.
Negocio Latino provides members with business tips such as preparing for tax time, lowering expenses and reducing vandalism to their property. Information about upcoming financial classes, changes in ordinances that may affect them and programs and grants from which they can benefit is also included in the newsletter.
Negocio Latino is distributed at no cost to Latino business owners. It was originally funded by a University of Nebraska grant, but as it grows Hernandez is seeking new funding sources. ISU Extension Community and Economic Development also provides some assistance.
Latino business owners interested in joining the Southeast Iowa or Central Iowa Latino Business Networks or in starting a new network in other areas should contact Hernandez at (641) 682-5491, firstname.lastname@example.org .