BROKEN ARROW — Spanish-speaking business owners in Oklahoma are encouraged to enroll in professional development training this fall.
Northeastern State University’s Broken Arrow Campus has partnered with the Uma Center and the Hispanic Small Business Association to offer professional development classes for startups in Spanish virtually from September through November.
The founder and executive director of the Uma Center, Dr. Martha Isabel Zapata, said that although several business courses are offered, very few are available in Spanish. She said many Latinos in Oklahoma, especially Tulsa, experience a language barrier because English is their second language.
“Language becomes a barrier for people who want to learn,” Zapata said. “Latinos are very enterprising. They want to start a business, but they need knowledge. Offering these courses in Spanish is one way to support the entrepreneurial spirit of the Hispanic community.
She said it was also important to offer the courses virtually, as it provides potential and current business owners the opportunity to take the courses whenever they are available to take them.
NSU College of Extended Learning Dean Dr. Eloy Chavez said the series aims to equip entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools needed to start a business and/or strengthen and grow an existing business. He said it fits with the university’s mission to help diverse members of the community seeking to advance in today’s economy.
Topics covered in this series include identifying the ideal customer, defining the value proposition, developing and validating a prototype product, exploring types of business structures, clarifying the business model and pricing structure, basic understanding of financial statements, branding and marketing strategies. . Zapata said participants who complete five courses would be eligible for a certificate.
Course instructors include Ramiro Peña, who works as a business consultant and corporate trainer for the Hispanic Small Business Association. The organization supports Tulsa’s Hispanic community through business training, technical assistance, community relationship development, and mentorship. Peña has over 25 years of experience as a human resources and development manager for major oil and telecommunications companies in South America. He has also been a corporate trainer in human resources, leadership, coaching and labor law.
Joining Peña to deliver the classes this fall is Zapata. She is the founder and executive director of the Uma Center Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create more equitable health and economic outcomes for Latinx and other underserved populations. Zapata worked as an organizational psychologist in his home country, performing recruitment, selection and training for national and international companies. She also created the first Hispanic Entrepreneurship Academy in Tulsa, in partnership with the Tulsa Technology Center and 36 Degrees North, with classes entirely in Spanish. Additionally, she owns a consulting firm that develops educational materials for the Hispanic market and advises businesses on how to serve Latinos in a culturally relevant way.
For more information about the series and to register for courses, visit https://academics.nsuok.edu/continuingeducation/spanish_business_courses.aspx. Participants can also contact Peña at 918-609-0987 or Zapata at 539-589-0435.