Latina Entrepreneur Quenia Abreu: Helping Fellow Latinas Succeed


Quenia Abreu, the President, CEO, and founder of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce (NYWCC), recently launched her dream of Empresaria, a magazine for the Latina Entrepreneur. The magazine will be a resource guide, a source of information, and an inspiration for those already in business or for those who want to take the first step in starting their own businesses. In-depth articles featuring successful Latina entrepreneurs will give advice on business issues, money management, and much more.

Empresaria will be published quarterly with a circulation of 10,000 copies that will be distributed by subscription and also free of charge to Chambers of Commerce, financing institutions, business development organizations, beauty salons, and at special events.

The magazine will be published primarily in Spanish with key articles then translated into English. The soon-to-be-launched www.empresariausa.com will present an online version of the magazine, and Ms. Abreu plans an active social media presence to support the project, focusing on Twitter and Facebook.

Empresaria will also host 2 events each year, including an annual awards ceremony where Latina entrepreneurs will be recognized for their successes and contributions. In addition, there will be an Empresaria conference to share and promote Latina entrepreneurship trends in the industry and insights for future growth.

There are 23.6 million Latinas in the United States, and Latina entrepreneurs are the fastest growing business group nationwide. Empresaria will highlight the significant contribution of Latinas to our economy, and provide a voice of support for Latina businesswomen, ready to celebrate past achievements and yet-to-come victories. HipLatina spoke with Ms. Abreu recently—we share parts of that conversation below:

HL: With your work at the NYWCC, and now with Empresaria, you have been focused on female economic empowerment throughout your career. How did this come to be a passion for you, and how did you get started in the field?

QA: The NYWCC began as a networking center for minority women interested in entrepreneurial endeavors. Women were too busy running their business to take advantage of the educational and self-improvement programs available—so as the network connections grew, it evolved more and more. Now we offer a great many services, including continuing education through workshops, training, mentorships, and even NY State licensing facilitation. Latinas are the fastest growing group of new business owners, so we focus on “micro entrepreneurial enterprises.” This means we help people who have a passion and an idea with practical, tactical solutions and best practices from the world of small business.

HL: We know that many female-owned businesses are service based—how do you help women get started in that direction?

QA: Well, with 80% of the businesses that are founded by minority women being service organizations, there is a body of knowledge out there: our job is to share that information, to spread it around. For example, many of our Latinas open Beauty Salons. Since many of them attended legitimate beauty schools in their country of origin, we provide training and workshops to help them navigate through the process of getting licensed here: This includes coaching them through the application process, understanding NY City and State Health Codes and regulations, and building a business plan.

HL: What is one piece of advice you could offer HipLatina readers who have an interest in starting a business? What do you think is the most important factor for getting a business idea going?

QA: If you have an idea about which you are passionate, go for it! But you must develop a sound business plan. There are many organizations, including the Small Business Administration (SBA) that can help guide and support you. Don’t spend your last dollar either. Debt is not a dirty word for entrepreneurs, so get a loan and build your business using other people’s money—just like smart corporations do.

HL: We look forward to tracking your success with Empresaria, and will continue to follow your excellent work helping Latinas pursue their American dream.

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