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Nely Galan, a Latina businesswoman and author known as the leader of the "Adelante" ("Go Ahead") Movement to empower women of color, energized an audience of entrepreneurs on Monday.
It was the first event in the "Connecting Minds" series. Organized by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HHCC) and Chase Bank, the series aims to tackle the "opportunity gap" that plagues Latino-owned businesses. According to a study by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, although Hispanics are the fastest-growing group of small business owners in the country, 36 percent of their businesses are either stagnant or shrinking.
"We want to help business owners to explore other capacities to grow their businesses," said Laura Murillo, leader the HHCC.
Galan, whom the New York Times called the "Tropical Tycoon," was the first Latina president of a U.S. television network, Telemundo. She is probably best known for her appearance on the NBC show "Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump."
According to Galan, the biggest obstacle entrepreneurs have to overcome is fear of failure. "Fear and failure are my best friends," she said.
"Fear is showing me that there is something I must do even if it scares me," she said. And failure is inevitable in the way to success: "Around the corner of my greatest failures I have seen my best successes."
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