Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Challenges of Texas Hispanic Businesses Focus of September 10 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on September 9, 2012

Dr. Elsie Echeverri-Carroll and Dr. Bruce Kellison will discuss The Survey of Texas Hispanic-Owned Businesses with Paid Employees on the September 10 Economic Perspectives at 5:30 p.m. CT.  Echeverri-Carroll and Kellison are researchers at The University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Business Research. Enclosed below is the press release announcing the survey results.

The two most critical challenges for Hispanic-owned businesses to grow are overcoming a lack of training in management and communication skills and gaining better access to markets, according to new research of Hispanic-owned businesses in Texas from The University of Texas at Austin. The study provides a fresh look at the challenges these mostly small businesses face.

The “Survey of Texas Hispanic-owned Businesses with Paid Employees”was producedby the university’s Bureau of Business Research (BBR) for the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC). The report findings are being presented today at the TAMACC annual meeting in San Antonio by the Bureau’s Bruce Kellison and Elsie Echeverri-Carroll, the principal investigators.

The university invested $155,000 in the survey through the Herb Kelleher Center at the McCombs School of Business and the Office of the President of The University of Texas at Austin. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation also funded the survey.

“We were pleased to help the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce in studying this important economic issue,” said university President Bill Powers. “A better understanding of the challenges faced by Texas’ Hispanic businesses will allow TAMACC to identify strategies to help these businesses grow and help create jobs and new opportunity in Texas.”

“We’re paying attention to this demographic because Hispanic-owned businesses create jobs for Texans, and their ability to scale is critical to the Texas economy,” said McCombs Dean Tom Gilligan.

The survey is based on the results of a mail survey of 2,811 Texas-based Hispanic businesses with paid employees conducted between July 2011 and August 2012. Findings include:

Most Hispanic-owned businesses in Texas start small and stay small even after many years of operation.

  • Forty-seven percent of Hispanic businesses with paid employees have between 1 and 4 employees, and 73 percent have fewer than 25 employees.
  • Eighty percent of young firms (5 years or younger) have fewer than 10 employees, while 66 percent of mature firms (16 years or older) still have fewer than 10 employees.

Hispanic business owners have high educational attainment.

  • Hispanic owners of businesses with paid employees have higher educational achievements than the general Hispanic population: 77 percent of the employers have some kind of post-high-school education, compared with 34 percent of Texas Hispanics in general over the age of 25.
  • Hispanic entrepreneurs also have many years of business experience; 56 percent of respondents have more than 20 years of business experience in their current business.
  • Many of the Hispanic business owners indicated that their employees need training, particularly in team management and leadership (24 percent), business/customer relations (16 percent) and written and oral communication (14 percent).

Promoting Hispanic business ownership can increase Hispanic employment.

  • More than 80 percent of the respondents indicated that they hire mainly Hispanics or an equal number of Hispanics and non-Hispanics. These findings are in line with previous census results that show business owners tend to hire more employees in their own ethnic groups.

Hispanic business owners feel they have less access to private and public market opportunities.

  • A larger percentage of respondents agree that they do not have equal access to government and private sector customers than disagree with such statements. Moreover, while 34 percent of respondents agree that they do not have equal opportunities in the private sector, a much larger proportion — 49 percent — agree that they do not have equal opportunities in the public sector.

“The information provided has yielded valuable insights, and we hope that this report will be useful to the survey participants as well as to other business owners who plan to start or expand their businesses,” said Echeverri-Carroll, one of the study’s principal investigators. “The Bureau of Business Research at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to have produced this study in order to help Hispanic business owners succeed and continue to contribute vital strength to the Texas economy.”


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Economic Perspectives Guests Discuss The African American Chambers of Commerce Convention and The World’s Most Powerful Women

Posted by Hopeton on August 26, 2012

The guests on Monday evening’s edition of Economic Perspectives are Jim Wyatt, president of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce and Moira Forbes, publisher of ForbesWoman.  Listen live on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX or online at

Wyatt will discuss the upcoming TAAACC Annual Convention being held September 13-15 in Austin, Texas.  More information on the convention is available at

Moira Forbes will discuss ForbesWoman’s Annual List of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. The list this year is topped by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Following Merkel, the top 5 include Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (2), Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff (3). Melinda Gates (4), co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jill Abramson (5), executive editor of The New York Times. For a complete list click here:

Other notable members of the list include First Lady Michelle Obama (7), Sheryl Sandberg (10), COO of Facebook; media mogul Oprah Winfrey (11), singer Lady Gaga (14), and Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox.

Moira Forbes is publisher of ForbesWoman, a multi-media platform serving successful women in business and leadership. Representing four generations of publishers, Moira joined Forbes in 2001 in its London office. She graduated from Princeton University.

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Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck: Traits for Success in Business

Posted by Hopeton on August 26, 2012

What are the defining traits crucial for a leader to build a business?  According to the research conducted by venture capitalist Anthony Tjan and his co-authors Richard Harrington and Tsun-Yan Hsieh,  heart, smarts, guts and luck are the attributes that all successful business leaders share. Tjian shares these insights and others on the Monday morning edition of Economic Perspectives at 7:30 a.m. CT on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live online at

Tony Tjan with music legend Quincy Jones

Anthony K. Tjan (Tony) is the co-author of Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck: What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur and Build a Great Business.  Tjan is Managing Partner of Cue Ball, a venture capital firm based in Boston. Most recently, Tony was Senior Partner at The Parthenon Group, a leading strategic advisory firm where he continues as its Vice Chairman. He spent seven years as a special strategic advisor to The Thomson Corporation, and its then CEO, Richard Harrington (now his Partner at Cue Ball). At Thomson, he played a key role working alongside the CEO on its transformational growth strategy. In 1996, Tony founded and was CEO of the Internet services firm ZEFER, a pioneer in early commercial web initiatives. Tony started his career with McKinsey & Company and holds his AB and MBA degrees from Harvard University. He was also a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Tony sits on several boards, is a contributor to Harvard Business Review, and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of MIT Tech Review.

Posted in Books, Business, Entrepreneurship, Interview, Radio, small business | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PODCAST: Listen to Interview About Obtaining Small Business Loans at BCL of Texas

Posted by Hopeton on August 18, 2012

Rosa Rios-Valdez

Small business lending was the topic of discussion on the August 13 Monday Morning Edition of Economic Perspectives. Rosa Rios-Valdez talked about how to get a small business loan from the community development financial institution she founded, BCL of Texas.  To listen to the interview with her click here: Rosa Rios Valdez Interview.

BCL of Texas (formally CEN-TEX CDC) was formed in 1990 at the invitation of the SBA San Antonio District office to make commercial real estate loans for established central Texas businesses. Our first loan was to Juan Portillo, who purchased an office building for his business, Tramex Travel. Sixteen years later Tramex Travel continues to grow. To meet customer requests, BCL has expanded its products and services. BCL became a statewide organization in 2004 and filed our dba (doing business as) Business & Community Lenders of Texas.

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BCL of Texas Business Counseling Helps Austin Firm Obtain Funding and Overcome Obstacles

Posted by Hopeton on August 10, 2012

Travis Benford, CEO of Blue Light Integrated Services

Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” If that statement is true, then Travis Benford just might just be the next Nostradamus. He is building a future to fit his vision. Moreover, he is building a future full of hope and opportunity for his team and his community.

Travis was a car salesman for the 14 years prior to opening Blue Light Integrated Services. He recalled the salesman experience fondly, but remarked that the hours kept him from his family for too long at times. The rewards were good, but there weren’t many opportunities for long term development. Travis knew he wanted to be his own boss someday. He wanted to do something that would allow more time to spend with his family and provide unlimited potential for growth.

Blue Light Integrated Services, a sales call center handling everything from Dish Network to security systems to home repair services, didn’t just spring up from nowhere. Travis worked hard to turn his dream into a reality. A turning point in this process came when he sought out a business coach at Business & Community Lenders (BCL) of Texas. Travis said that at first it was difficult to find time to go to the meetings and classes while working. “It was really tough to make all of those obligations work together, but I knew I had to go,” he said. To be a successful entrepreneur, Travis noted, you have to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. At a Biz Aid orientation class Travis met one such like-minded individual named Carlos Vasquez. Carlos is the Business Development Analyst for BCL of Texas. Carlos is there to help people like Travis transition from traditional employee to successful entrepreneur. He and Travis started speaking and found that there were a lot of ways that Carlos could help.

Travis was beginning to get frustrated with the process of starting a business. Finding financing and office space, hiring people, getting the appropriate legal documents: all of these prerequisites to getting a new business off the ground seemed hidden behind unreasonable expectations.

“The banks couldn’t understand that I was going to start this business and work full time there,” Travis said when asked about this aspect of the process. “I was concentrating all of my effort to make that work. I had a little seed funding from my family, but the banks wanted us to show that there was no chance of default by offering my family’s income as collateral. It was just unreasonable.”

Carlos was able to help Travis overcome most of his major obstacles. Carlos and Travis worked together to get funding and find an office space that worked. As of now, Blue Light Integrated Services is well above the sales goals that they set out in Travis’s business plan. The business operates out of a great office location that also houses their call center. In less than 6 months since beginning this venture, Mr. Benford has hired thirteen other staff members to keep up with all the demand coming through the 7703 N. Lamar Blvd office.

“We are doing great. Right now we are expanding our products and services. We sell commercial TVs now to meet small businesses needs all across the nation,” Travis said. “We have almost outgrown our current space! We are one of a very small group that Dish has approved to sell nationwide. Sometimes the hours are still very long, but I couldn’t be happier.”

For a free business counseling session from BCL of Texas call (512)912-9191.

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Listen to Joah Spearman Interview with Ericka Herod on EP

Posted by Hopeton on August 5, 2012

Ericka Heard aka DJ I Wanna Be Her

On EQ, the new segment on Economic Perspectives, Joah Spearman interviews Ericka

Joah Spearman

Herod aka DJ I Wanna Be Her about pursuing your passions.  Ericka is a designer, DJ, and fasion maven in Austin, Texas.  Listen to Joah’s interview at 5:50 p.m. CT on Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM or live online at

Joah Spearman is the co-founder and executive producer of Style X, SXSW’s official style showcase

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BCL of Texas Presents 30 Seconds to Success for Small Business Owners

Posted by Hopeton on April 3, 2012

Bite-Sized Financial Education for Small Business Owners Seeking Capital

Looking for money to help your business grow?  Lenders across the board will tell you to be familiar with the 5 C’s of funding: costs, collateral, credit, capital and capacity.


Costs refer to the “project costs,” or the detailed expenses related to growing your business.  This can refer to working capital needs for rent, staffing & benefits, utility expenses, shipping costs, property taxes, office supplies, and any other costs related to the day-to-day operations of your business.  Working capital can also be used to cover current costs while waiting for payment from your customers for work already completed.  Another type of project cost is furniture, fixtures & equipment, which includes any machinery needed to create or package your product, or any other movable items used in your business location.  Project costs also might include the purchase of real estate, either in the purchase of an existing building or land, or construction costs related to building the business location of your dreams.

Before approaching your bank or community lender, create your business wish list and consider in detail what the funding will allow you to accomplish.  Are you looking to hire additional help?  If so, what will you pay them?  Will you offer benefits?  Don’t forget to account for employment taxes.  Consider safety training, uniforms, and other ancillary costs as well.

Lenders will expect you to have done your research.  Their consideration of your preparedness goes a long way toward approval, and allows them to be more flexible while working with you.


Collateral refers to the security pledged by the borrower as insurance against a loss for the lender.  This can take the form of equity, property, cash reserves, equipment, or any other item of value for which the lender can claim ownership in the event of a loan default.  Often, as in the case of real estate lending, the collateral is created with the loan funds.

When seeking a loan, you’ll want to be prepared to match dollar for dollar your collateral, or business asset value, to the amount of the loan request.  The collateral accepted by a lender can vary widely, but often a lender will require enough to cover the amount of the loan and a little extra.  In the event that collateral is not available, personal guarantees may be acceptable.  There are even certain SBA-programs that will provide a government guarantee for a portion of the loan, without the need for the borrower to cover that amount with collateral.

Although finding collateral can often be an obstacle for a struggling small business owner, lenders will rarely take the on the risk of losing money if the borrower defaults.  It is important to show that you are willing to take on the risk of your business by providing a hedge against a loss.  Be wary of private lenders that require little to no collateral, as they will often take advantage with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees.  Coming up short on business collateral?  Look at pledging personal assets, such as a vehicle, investment funds, or other property.


Credit is a buzzword these days, as many home and business owners faced the music of ruined credit scores after the recession.  Those with little to no credit experienced difficulty building it from scratch when lenders tightened up their standards and raised the bar, excluding borrowers with low to moderate credit scores from consideration.

Building the credit of a business is a long-term priority, and something to consider from the earliest stages.  For most small business owners, personal credit scores of all borrowers are what most lenders examine when considering a business capital loan.  Missed or late payments, past defaults, bankruptcies and maxed out credit cards are all warning signs that show up on a credit report and can lower the overall score of the applicant.  Here’s a tip to boost your score:  Pay all revolving debts, such as credit cards, and installation debts, such as loans, on time each month.  This accounts for 35% of your credit score.

Every individual is entitled to a free credit report each year, and your personal credit report should be pulled and examined on an annual basis for accuracy.  Mistakes can sometimes be found and corrected through the credit bureaus before they hurt your credit score.  Poor credit can be repaired, and there are many non-profits that offer services to assist this pursuit.


Capital is the amount of money your business has accumulated as a result of the production of goods or services.  It is this need for capital reserves that prevents many start-ups from finding the funding they need to grow, as they have not yet had time to build up profits.

Just as you need a down payment for a house, a small business loan will also require a down payment, called a capital or equity injection.  Planning on growing your business?  Here’s a tip:  Start saving your money today.  Be prepared for your small business to put up 15-20% of the requested loan amount.

Lenders and investors will expect you to have taken personal risk (i.e. used personal funds) to establish the business before asking them to commit to funding.  This is because when you have a significant personal investment in the business, you are more likely to do everything in your power to make the business successful.


Capacity refers to the ability of the business to grow and succeed, or more specifically, the ability of the business to repay debts and continue to profit.  Most lenders will refrain from lending to a business that is not growing and cannot service the debt they currently have.  They will analyze the financial information to determine whether the borrowed capital will increase the profits, and if so, whether that will be enough to repay the debt plus interest long-term.  If the business is currently struggling, borrowing funds may seem like a life preserver, but could actually spell disaster down the road.

In addition to examining financial information for the business, lenders will consider the years of experience that you have in your field, as well as your knowledge of business strategies.  Navigating the road to profit is difficult for any business owner, so industry experience is essential to success.  Here’s a tip:  Often small business owners wear many hats, but keep in mind that you don’t have to know it all as long as you have a team to support you.  Include a business coach and professionals that can fill in the gaps in your knowledge.  There are several non-profits, such as BCL of Texas, that can teach you the business skills you need to get your business off and running.

To schedule your free session with a business coach at BCL of Texas, email, call (512)912-9191 today, or go to .

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Black MBAs Launch New Program for Young Professionals in Austin

Posted by Hopeton on March 26, 2012

Dee Patience and Elizabeth Thomas of the Austin Black MBAs will discuss the new Advancing Careers and Excelling (A.C.E.)Program on the March 26 edition of Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM at 5:30 p.m.  Listen live online at

The goal of A.C.E.  is to further develop the pipeline of minority talent in Austin through focused programming and networking opportunities for Young Professionals ages 25-34.

The 6-month A.C.E. Program will take place the first Saturday of each month starting April 7th. The Program will include monthly sessions (approximately 4 hours) which will include topics such as building relationships, personal branding and social networking. Each session will include a presentation of the  facilitated topic by experienced professionals with  subject matter expertise and will end with a Q& A session with an influential executive at a top company in Austin.

For more information go to

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I Slept on Apple, But the Steve Jobs Biography Woke Me Up

Posted by Hopeton on March 21, 2012

Recently I’ve been listening to the biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson as I drive across the state in lieu of my usual sports talk shows.  While I’ve been aware of all the new products launched by Apple (I own an iPhone, an ipod, and have been contemplating purchasing the iPad) I just realized that Apple had sales over $100 billion in its last fiscal year.  Last I recalled Apple was a $10 billion company.  I feel like Rip Van Winkle (for those who may not be familiar with him, he is a character in a story written by Washington Irving, who fell asleep and didn’t wake up for 20 years).  So I decided to research the meteoric rise in sales and this is what I found.  According to the web site, Apple’s sales in 1995 was $11.06 billion, then they declined to $9.83 billion in 1996.  For the next 8 years sales hovered between a low of $5.36 billion in 2001 and a high of $8.28 billion in 2004.  Annual sales did not surpass the 1995’s $11.06 billion until 2005 when sales hit $13.93 billion.  Since then sales have grown every year increasing 677% between 2005 and 2011.  I am astonished and wide awake now!

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City of Austin Upcoming Bond Election Focus of March 19 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on March 18, 2012

Don Baylor

Don Baylor, a member of the City of Austin Bond Election Advisory Task Force will be a guest on the March 19 edition of Economic Perspectives at 5:30 p.m. central time on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live online at

The City of Austin is planning a Bond Election where voters will get to decide whether the city should borrow money to fund specified city infrastructure, facilities, or other capital improvement projects or programs.  Four community meetings on potential projects for the Bond Election are scheduled for late March beginning on March 20.

The Task Force, City staff, and the community will work together over the next several months to identify and review potential projects and programs for future bond funding. In May 2012, the Task Force will provide recommendations for the City Council to consider when developing a potential bond package.

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