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From giants of the real estate sector, to entrepreneurs who saw a business opportunity in the dance, these are 5 Latin American entrepreneurs with successful businesses in the northern giant.
"The American Dream", as we know in Latin America, is a concept or philosophy of life that was born as a result of an idea that sought to guide North American society and culture towards democratic ideals, civil rights, freedom, equality and opportunities.
The latter so deepened in the cultures of Latin American countries that it spread throughout the region as a common goal, that is to say, a sort of coincidence that would become, for many, a life project: to put down roots in the American giant.
This idea has had such an impact that, according to the Statista portal, in 2020, the Hispanic population in the United States exceeded 59 million inhabitants, of which approximately 62% come from Mexico, followed by Puerto Rico with 9.6%, Cuba 3.96%, El Salvador 3.78%, Dominican Republic 3.44%, Guatemala 2.5%, Colombia 2.09% and the list goes on.
But what are the perspectives that Latinos have about the northern country? They are positive, so say the figures of the most recent survey conducted by Axios, Ipsos and Telemundo US Latino Q4: six out of ten Latinos agree that the U.S. provides opportunities for all people (68%) and that they can live the "American dream" (61%). Most Latin Americans, says the study, feel that they belong in the U.S. while still, of course, feeling a connection to their family's country or countries of origin.
And in economic terms, what has the presence of Latin American businessmen in the U.S. represented? According to the Joint Economic Congress, the Hispanic Caucus and the Small Business Committee in the House of Representatives, Latin American businesses by 2021 contributed $800 billion to the U.S. economy. "Hispanic businesses promote economic growth and are an integral part of America's economic dynamism," said Virginia Democratic Representative Don Beyer, chairman of the Joint Economic Committee.
That is why we want to share the life and experience of 5 successful Latin American entrepreneurs who established their businesses in the United States:
"Related Group was founded on a commitment to enrich the lives of those who live in our buildings and their surrounding communities," is how Jorge M Perez, President, CEO, Founder of Related Group of Florida, a privately owned real estate development company based in Miami, describes Related Group of Florida.
Known as the 'Steven Spielberg of Real Estate', or the 'Donald Trump of the tropics', Perez has become a benchmark in US real estate, a business, according to the portal Statista, millionaire: by 2020 USD $6.5 million homes were sold in the US and it was projected that this figure could increase to USD $7.1 million by 2021.
Since its inception in 1979, Related Group has built and managed more than 80,000 condominium and apartment residences that are meticulously designed, says the group's official site, with finishes and amenities that transform the buildings into vibrant residential environments.
Latin American blood runs through Perez's veins: he was born in Argentina, is of Cuban parents, and grew up in Colombia before emigrating as a teenager to the United States. In 2009 he published his book Powerhouse Principles, where he explains how to manage and grow long-term investments, his multi-million dollar secrets for investors in even the most difficult real estate through a clear, step-by-step process.
According to Forbes, Perez currently has a fortune of US $1.7 billion and ranks 1,729th among the world's billionaires.
Alberto "Beto" Perez, a Colombian dance enthusiast raised in Cali, Colombia, was the creator of Zumba, a company that offers a monthly membership program that promises support and didactic tools to dance instructors who want to teach their first class and build their confidence with a set of music and choreography.
"Every month you'll get brand new music from world-famous artists and up-and-coming young performers, as well as choreography developed by top Zumba educators. You'll get everything you need to make your classes fresh with ZIN Play, our exclusive digital platform." This is how the organization describes some of the digital services they provide through an app.
About the creation of Zumba, Beto says that "one day he forgot the music he used for his classes and was forced to use a cassette of Latin music that he happened to have in his car. This was the first time gym-goers were exposed to a class that broke the mold of what they were used to."
Some time later, together with Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, they officially created Zumba, distributed, at first, on DVDs with great success. The digital adaptation has been fundamental for their business to thrive.
Perez could well be another of the great entrepreneurs who believed in the "American Dream". Since 1999, when he moved to Miami, Florida, this dream has been one of the cornerstones of his life. Zumba has 15 million people in more than 200,000 locations in 186 countries taking Zumba classes every week.
Tony Jimenez, President, CEO and founder of MicroTech, a service-disabled veteran-owned information technology (IT) integrator and service provider offering visual communications, telecommunications and cloud, technology integration and product solutions, is one of the nation's most influential Hispanics and a respected veteran leader, his numbers back him up: Since founding MicroTech at his kitchen table more than 18 years ago (2004), he has grown it into a multi-billion dollar company with more than 100 contracts supporting federal, state and local government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies and more than $350 billion in government. Tony was born at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia and is of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent.
In an interview published in Industry Era, the influential businessman spoke of the importance of being on the cutting edge and constant updating. Adaptation, that sums up his business vision: "If you don't adapt to the market, it can be devastating for a company. Just think of Yahoo! that didn't buy Facebook a dozen years ago; or Eastman Kodak that didn't realize the potential of digital. Understanding the market is essential, its segments, its dynamics."
An important item of Tony's commitment is to America's youth, as his initiatives have focused on promoting science, technology, engineering and math initiatives. This has earned him important recognitions such as "Entrepreneur of the Year", "Small Businessman of the Year", "Executive of the Year" and "CEO of the Year" by numerous national organizations; he has also been recognized as the "Most Influential Hispanic in the Nation" by Hispanic Business magazine, "50 Most Influential Virginians" by Virginia Business and "Veteran of the Year" by Veterepreneur magazine.
Jorge Mas is one of the most prominent Cuban-American entrepreneurs in the U.S. real estate scene. He is chairman of the board and co-founder of MasTec, Inc. an engineering and infrastructure construction company based in Miami that has been involved in some of the largest and most complex infrastructure construction projects in the country.
Jorge has been in all phases of the company's development since its inception in 1994. Its revenues, says the official website, are USD $6.6 billion and it employs more than 20,000 people in six different business lines: power generation and industrial renewables, natural gas and pipelines, electric transmission, wireless services, landline utilities and technology implementation.
In addition to his infrastructure and technology businesses, Jorge Mas is the owner and manager of the recently awarded Major League Soccer franchise in Miami.
Jorge Mas has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States by Latino Leaders magazine. He received the Simon Wiesenthal Center's National Community Service Award for his contribution to freedom and received the Bravura Award for his defense of free speech.
According to Forbes, the successful businessman currently has a fortune of US $1.2 billion and ranks 2,448th among the world's billionaires.
José E. Feliciano co-founded Clearlake Capital in 2006 with Behdad Eghbali, both managing partners. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the private equity firm is known in the business sector for buying software, industrial and consumer products companies.
Read on the official page that the investment firm "operates integrated businesses in private equity, credit and other related strategies with a focus on the sector." The company seeks to partner with experienced management teams that need long-term patient capital for dynamic businesses that can benefit from an operational improvement approach.
Feliciano, born in Puerto Rico, he is a member of the board of directors of Stanford University and the Smithsonian National Museum of the Latin American. According to Forbes, Clearlake Capital oversaw $43 billion and has posted some of the best returns in the industry.
According to Forbes, Feliciano currently has a fortune of US $2.4 million and ranks 883rd among the world's billionaires.