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U.S. Department of Labor, Western Union fund website for minority entrepreneurs

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 2, 2007


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The National Hispanic Business Information Clearinghouse (NHBIC) launched a website,, designed to provide information for minority entrepreneurs wanting to start their own businesses. The project was funded by a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and start-up capital from Denver-based Western Union.

Western Union will also assist in publicizing the program to small business owners and merchants through its network of 50,000 U.S. agent locations. The Latino Coalition and other national, state and local groups, as well as community and faith-based organizations, also plan to promote NHBIC to their members.

Western Union’s “ethic of empowering our consumers to achieve sustainable economic stability. These BICs, when available in multiple languages, will reach millions of immigrants and minorities with information to start, grow and maintain successful businesses in the U. S. The rewards will be felt nationwide,” said Fred Niehaus, senior vice president of public affairs for Western Union, of his company’s interest in supporting NHBIC.

Site organizers promise bilingual information on how to finance, manage and market a new or existing business. The website is published in English and Spanish and is expected to include other languages and ethnic groups in the future.

“The NHBIC website focuses on the three m’s of business, money, markets and & management. It empowers aspiring business owners by providing critical information on financing a business, selling products and services and running a company,” said   Salvador Gomez, program project director, NHBIC. “As a bilingual resource, it will be especially useful for those who have traditionally been underserved because English is not their first language.”

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According to promotional materials, the NHBIC website includes pre-screened and categorized business-related content; a specialized and business-specific search engine; personalized user features; localized, culture-specific community resources; and updated news related to minority small businesses.

“The launch and operation of the National Hispanic Business Information Clearinghouse will have a tremendous ripple effect in Latino communities across the United States and the country as a whole,” said Hector Barreto, former administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration. “Small businesses are the engine of our nation’s economy, and this program encourages and supports entrepreneurial success and is to be commended.”

The NHBIC website will be the organization’s first in a series of online portals providing members of emerging markets basic tools to start a business. Additional clearinghouses are planned in coming years for African-American, Asian and Native-American audiences. Organizers plan to offer business basics, legal requirements, licensing, permitting, accounting, employee management, paying taxes, marketing, sales and government contracting information to those groups.