Prosper CO: Invertir presented by Bank of America

This week, Prosper CO convened small business owners, funders and business professionals at OfficeScapes for Invertir, presented by Bank of America. The event, hosted during Hispanic Heritage Month, provided a space for Latino entrepreneurs to share their journeys, challenges and triumphs with an intimate audience from their own community.

Toti Cadavid, president and transformation strategist at Essencialize and incoming board chair of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC), moderated the discussion featuring panelists Iván Anaya, president and founder Astucia Development, Lorena Cantarovici, CEO, chef and founder of Maria Empanada, and Marisol Solarte Erlacher, LPC founder, therapist and consultant of Marisol Solarte-Erlacher & Associates.

The panel started off with remarks from Andres Marino, vice president and market leader from Bank of America, who shared more on the initiatives that Bank of America is enacting to support small business owners from the Latino community. Toti then spoke with panelists about their small business journey. All three panelists work in unique and diverse industries: real estate, restaurant and hospitality and health care.

“It’s important to understand your passion, what you want to bring and the risks of having a business,” said Cantarovici.

All of the panelists became small business owners for a variety of reasons: to allow more families to achieve the dreams of homeownership through real estate development, to help provide for their family by using their talents and finding a way to be more accessible to their community.

The key for many of them was having a plan and taking a leap of faith. “I knew nothing about business when I first started,” said Solarte Erlacher. “I knew I would grow and learn from the process and find a way to be more impactful as a bilingual therapist.”

Success was not guaranteed for any of these small business owners. They’ve all faced challenges in their careers and entrepreneurial journeys, but found mentors, networks and organizations who helped them prepare for, and reach, the next level for their organizations. As a result, all three struggle to identify instances of complete failure. Instead, they try to reframe those failures as lessons and keep the bigger picture in mind.

“I try to feed the eagles and starve the turkeys, which is not my original advice, but some of the best that was given to me by a mentor,” remarked Anaya. “The eagle provides the big picture, flying above everything else. The frustrating email in your inbox that you need to deal with now is the turkey looking you straight in the eye and taking up your entire view.”

Our panelists and moderators have all found ways to feed their eagles. This came through taking classes at the SBDC, finding mentorship from a former colleague, joining groups like the Circle of Latino Leadership and asking for help.

Michael Sapp, state affairs manager for Xcel Energy, then offered some closing remarks on the importance of creating community, finding connections and forging ahead as a business community to continue to support and welcome small business owners into the fold as we create an economy that works for everyone. Learn more about the work Prosper CO does to support small businesses here.

“It’s important to know why your business exists and why you’re the right person for that business,” said Cadavid. Attendees and panelists networked following the panel, promoting the very connections and networks that Toti, Lorena, Iván and Marisol all mentioned as keys to their success.

Bank of America was the presenting sponsor for Invertir. Xcel Energy served as an event partner and United Airlines as a reception partner. University of Colorado Denver was a supporting partner for the event. InSync Photography was the photography sponsor for the event, view the gallery of photos here.