Access to capital, marketing, and technology solutions will be just some of the topics discussed at next week's Microsoft Small Business Summit.
The free four-day summit is available online and will feature some of the country's leading small business experts who will offer key tips on how to create and maintain a successful business. The summit kicks off March 24 at 12 p.m. EDT.
The summit's aim is to help entrepreneurs efficiently handle the day-to-day obstacles many of them face when running a small company and focus more time on other critical aspects like marketing and finding the right technology.
"The purpose of a business is always to give you a better life, but most people start a business out of necessity," says Louis Barajas, one of the business summit's featured speakers. "Just because they know how to do something doesn't mean they know how to run a business. People learn the hard way."
Mr. Barajas, a financial planner and author of "Small Business, Big Life," will share tips on how entrepreneurs can create a successful business and still have a life outside of work.
"Microsoft understands the challenges that small business owners face," says Jose Pinero, Microsoft's bilingual director of multicultural marketing. "The they have to wear all these different hats -- giving customer feedback, providing information, providing the right products."
Hispanics in the U.S. are opening businesses at a rate that is three times as fast as the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2006, there were nearly 1.6 million Hispanic-owned firms.
The event will include various interactive sessions and roundtable discussions with experts, including and Maria de Lourdes Sobrino, founder and CEO of LuLu's Dessert and author of "Thriving Latina Entrepreneurs in America."
"We're super excited about having Hispanic business experts such as Maria Sobrino and Louis Barajas because it's important that we address the needs of Hispanic business owners," says Mr. Pinero.
Participants can submit questions online. Mr. Barajas and Ms. Sobrino will take questions in both English and Spanish.
For those not able to make the online summit at the scheduled dates and times, Microsoft will rebroadcast key segments. For more information and to register, go to www.sbsummit.com.
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