Arriving in this country 14 years ago, I knew it was important to learn the language, the culture, and the various systems in place to help me succeed and become an active citizen in my new community. Nine years ago, I was charged with the task of creating and leading a culturally appropriate and bilingual program in Spanish to serve the Latino entrepreneurs of the Puget Sound area. Since its inception, we have served over 900 Latino immigrants. These individuals have exemplified the skills necessary to thrive in the US business industry and they all have a secret weapon; their bilingualism.
Various studies have shown that a bilingual brain is more active, due to its capacity and necessity to think in multiple ways at one time. There is a difference in being able to speak two languages and being able to acclimate and cater to two different cultures. Bilingualism and biculturalism work hand in hand and these individuals are successful in their work due to their comprehension of the differences in the two cultures.
Starting a business is a complicated process due to the different legal and tax implications—especially when working in different cities or states. Doing it in a foreign country and in a different language is even more challenging.
Many of our ESL clients have the entrepreneurial skills to succeed in this market. They just need access to opportunities and resources that they don’t have in their countries of origin. When they come to the United States, they start a new journey. We encourage them to learn English early on. We’ve realized that their eagerness and entrepreneurial mindsets allow them to learn faster in their first language.
Thirty percent of our clients are Latinos. We are proud to serve them and offer all of our programs in their first language, Spanish. Bilingualism is an awesome skill and 70% of the ventures team Habla español!
We have many success stories from immigrants, refugees, and other minorities due to our culturally appropriate programs and the support we offer in their first language. Our clients are contributing to the economy of this wonderful country.