Entrepreneur Takes Steps to Realize Dreams

October, 2015
When Pasos al Éxito participant Daniel Longoni moved to the U.S. from Argentina six years ago, he was starting from scratch. He knew he wanted to start his own business, but first he needed to learn a new language, go back to school, and figure out what kind of business he wanted to open. Daniel was taking welding classes and was considering that as a business option, but when the chance to work for a realtor arose, he welcomed the opportunity. At about the same time, Yolanda Morales, a past Pasos al Éxito participant and instructor at Treasure Valley Community College, let him know about the program.
 
Pasos al Éxito is a Spanish-language program that provides financial and small business skills and resources to rural Latinos who aspire to be entrepreneurs. The program consists of two courses: Money Smart and Starting a Business. Money Smart is a personal and business finance course to help enhance financial skills and create positive banking relationships, and Starting a Business is for those interested and ready to learn how to effectively start or strengthen their own business. The sessions include experiential learning activities, facilitated discussion, guest speakers, and homework assignments.
 
Daniel attended the training in Ontario in 2012. He had some business experience, but participating in the Pasos al Éxito program provided him with resources and networking opportunities and taught him how to manage his money and organize his business ideas. He learned more about how to do his taxes, and he found an accountant through the resources provided in the classes. Daniel also learned to budget and pay himself first, and he has adopted money-saving habits taught in the classes. He is conscious of not overspending and saves money in little ways, like thinking twice about buying a cup of coffee, and he recently purchased a hybrid vehicle to save money on gas.
 
Using the tools and knowledge he acquired in the training, Daniel is now on his way to starting his own real estate business. He has been working for another realtor for a year and a half, and he’ll be able to start his own business after three years of apprenticeship. The Pasos al Éxito training was such a positive experience for Daniel that he wants to give back and help others realize their dreams by helping them find a space to start their own business.
 
A two-year microenterprise development program, Pasos al Éxito builds the entrepreneurial capacity of rural Latino community participants in three ways: training in basic personal and business finance, instruction in starting a small microenterprise business, and access to support and resources as participants take their first steps toward success. RDI works in partnership with local organizations and Small Business Development Centers to deliver this program and to help create strong local ties for the participants. If you are interested in learning more about bringing Pasos al Éxito to your community, contact Kristine Mier, email: kmier@rdiinc.org or phone: 612.432.6318.