On the evening of Nov. 20, graduates of an eight-week program offered in Spanish, "Business Skills for Latino Entrepreneurs," were honored with a buffet dinner and graduation ceremony at the Taste of Puebla Restaurant in Kennett Square The event's sponsors included Chester County SCORE, La Comunidad Hispana, National Penn Bank, and Kutztown University's Latino Business Resource Center.

Twelve graduates and their families received diplomas and celebrated the completion of the program (comparable to an introductory college-level business course) tailored for Latino entrepreneurs interested in starting businesses in Kennett Square and the surrounding community. 

Some of the business concepts developed during the eight-week program include a plan to start a Puerto Rican style restaurant, plans to establish a women-owned grocery store catering to the Latino community, a career development business geared towards the Hispanic community, an event and wedding planning business, a car detailing and repair operation, and establishing an architectural design business in downtown West Chester.

Horace Scherer, an event coordinator and volunteer with Chester County SCORE, was pleased with the success of the program and is optimistic about offering the seminar series in the near future. 

"The participants of the program were highly motivated and had some very practical and realistic ideas for starting their businesses." Scherer said. "Perhaps the most beneficial lessons learned during the eight-week series pertained to identifying and targeting viable market segments for each business, understanding basic financial information necessary for evaluating business success and securing loans, and legal issues regarding zoning, permits, and business licensing, which are not commonly used in Latin America as they are in this country."

For information about future programs designed for the Latino Community living and working in the Chester County/ Kennett Square area, visit the Kutztown University Latino Business Resource website (www.kulbrc.org) or contact Carolina Martinez, director of the Latino Business Resource Center, at 484-646-4013 or martinez@kutztown.edu.