News Column

Creating Their Own Niche

December 2001

During the course of the year, HISPANIC BUSINESS receives hundreds of news releases, media kits, e-mails, and product samples from new and emerging small businesses. A select few possessing a remarkable business concept, marketing niche, organizational approach, or success story appear on these pages as winners of the 2001 Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards.

To nominate a CEO for the 2002 Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards, send reader tips, news releases, product descriptions, photos, or media clips to:

Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards
c/o Joel Russell, Senior Editor
425 Pine Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA 93117
You may also fax information to (805) 964-6139 or send it via e-mail to In evaluating entries, editors consider Hispanic CEOs of small companies with interesting or outstanding products, services, marketing methods, organizations, or track records.

Entrepreneurial Spirit Award profiles written by Scott Williams.

And the winners are...Linx Star Power
Linx Bracelets Inc. is a company operated by sisters Gina Catan-Eckstein and Ivette Catan-Helfend, Mexico City natives and southern California residents.
Have Cape, Will Travel
Maybe you don't look as good in tights as Superman or Wonder Woman, but at least you can express your Superhero-ness in business, says Diogenes Ruiz, 45, developer of a line of superhero business cards.
Bottoms Up!
Say hola to America's first Hispanic-American beer, dubbed OTRA by its Van Nuys, California, brewer, Johnny Hernandez, a former beer industry executive and CEO of North American Latino Beer Industries Inc.
Building Houses of God
Daniel Saavedra, an architect in Rockford, Illinois, specializes in religious buildings. In the 10 years since he and his partner teamed up to form Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects, they've designed about 50 Christian churches.
Color Coordinated
Monica Ramirez, 29, has started her own cosmetics company Zalia International geared toward Hispanic women.
Pumping Up the Profits
Brothers Angel and Willy Banos bought their first Gold's Gym in North Hollywood more than a decade ago, and now own three franchises, including a 23,000-square-foot gym in Hollywood.


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