September 18, 2004

Ford Motor Company continues its efforts to increase the success of Hispanic entrepreneurs by offering its third Mi Negocio (My Business) Panel of Advisors Series in conjunction with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) 18th Annual Conference in Miami.

This third session focuses on building strategies for achieving ultimate business success. Members of the Miami community are invited to attend to learn from highly respected business leaders from across the country. The event will feature three top Hispanic female business executives from Casiano Communications, Zubi Advertising and Elder Automotive Group, along with three outstanding businessmen from Porter Novelli, FinancialGreatness.com and HACU. The Panel of Advisors Series is a key element of the community outreach strategy of Ford Mi Negocio, the Spanish language entrepreneurial web hub. The Miami symposium will be available online in November at http://www.ford.com/go/minegocio in an on-demand format powered by AOL Latino.

“Miami is the perfect location for the Mi Negocio Panel of Advisors’ Series,” said George Frame, executive director of Dealer Development at Ford Motor Company. “It is the ideal gateway to Hispanic business and entrepreneurial growth with its international connections to the Americas.”

“As president of HACU and member of the Ford Mi Negocio Panel of Advisors, I am delighted to share the live entrepreneurial symposium with HACU’s constituents attending our Miami convention,” said Dr. Antonio Flores, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Members of the panel participating in the Miami event include; Fernando Figueredo, managing director Latin America and U.S. Hispanic markets at Porter Novelli; Kim Casiano, president and COO of Casiano Communications and board member of Ford Motor Company; Tere Zubizarreta, president and CEO, Zubi Advertising; Antonio Flores, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and Louis Barajas, founder and author of Finanicialgreatness.com. In addition, the symposium will feature a special appearance by distinguished entrepreneur, Irma Elder, CEO of Elder Automotive Group.

The first Mi Negocio Panel of Advisors symposium titled, “Business Plan 101” took place on August 17th in Los Angeles and was hosted in partnership with the Latin Business Association (LBA). More recently, the second entrepreneur business forum titled, “Developing & Sustaining a Marketing Plan” featured the basics of marketing planning, and was held in conjunction with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) 25th Annual National Convention & Business Expo in Austin, Texas on September 17th. Both are available on-demand on the Mi Negocio website.

Three Leading Latina Entrepreneurs

With the growth in Latina entrepreneurship accelerating at a dramatic pace, Ford is featuring three top Latina entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds in this final Mi Negocio symposium.

Kimberly Casiano is president and chief operating officer of Casiano Communications, Inc., America’s largest and most experienced Hispanic publisher of periodicals and magazines. She also is president of Direct ResponseSource, Inc., a division of Casiano Communications, Inc. In addition, Ms. Casiano was elected to the Ford Board of Directors in December 2003.

Irma Elder, chief executive officer of Elder Automotive Group, is a true story of entrepreneurial success. The Elder Automotive Group consistently ranks in the top ten of Hispanic Business Magazine’s top 500 Hispanic-owned corporations and is the only female-owned corporation ranked in the top ten. In addition, Elder is one of the highest-ranking women in Working Woman magazine’s top 500 Women in the country. Most recently, Elder received the Pioneer Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

Tere Zubizarreta is the president and chief execute officer of Zubi Advertising, Inc., one of the largest independently owned Hispanic advertising agencies in the country. Zubizarreta founded the agency in Miami in 1976 and since then has opened offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Antonio. Zubi has grown organically over the past 27 years to more than 100 employees dedicated to enhancing the image of the Hispanic culture and the advertising profession through their actions and their work. In 2003, Zubi Advertising posted billings of $147 million.

Mi Negocio Web Hub

The new Spanish language web hub, called Mi Negocio, is the first Hispanic entrepreneurial community of its kind, offering a combination of unmatched online services and community outreach in key Hispanic markets. The site will be powered by AOL Latino – the largest Internet service for U.S. Hispanics. The hub will tap key resources from Time Inc., including articles from FORTUNE Magazine, Business 2.0 and FORTUNE Small Business.

Mi Negocio taps into the strong entrepreneurial spirit growing among Hispanics in the U.S. About 42 percent of all minority businesses are Hispanic-owned, which is more than any other minority group. Ranks of Hispanic entrepreneurship has jumped 30 percent since 1998, and one out of 10 small businesses will be Hispanic-owned by 2007 – jumping to two million from 1.2 million.** Hispanics also are among the most Internet-savvy consumers. There are about 13 million Hispanics online, and the average time Hispanics spend online outpaces that of the general U. S. population, according to a study completed earlier this year by America Online and Roper ASW. The study says nearly half of Hispanics who are now using the Internet went online for the first time within the past two years, and now spend about 9.5 hours a week online. More than half say that access to content in Spanish is important to them.

* Source: USA Today
** Source: SBA Minority Owned Business Report and Internal Revenue Service HispanTelligence.

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