Editor’s Note: Originally published on Medium. The California Economic Summit is focused on job creation with a triple bottom line focus of the economy, environment and equity. That goal includes increasing California entrepreneurs’ access to capital so they can startup and grow. The following guest blog from Deldelp Medina, co-founder and CEO of Avión Ventures, focuses on ways for Latinos to take part in the booming innovation economy.
Let’s start with some simple facts:
1. Latino population growth: Latinos are officially the biggest ethnic group in California. Making California the first big state, and the third overall after Hawaii and New Mexico, without a white plurality. California is expected to have a Latino majority by 2060 (US Census).
2. Latinos are over-consuming of both aparaticos (devices) and the amount of time on the devices, according to Pew.
3. There is Latino tech talent that are creating new platforms, apps and hardware to solve the issues and problems of the United States. (Please click to read about Atipica, StudyRoom, and Cocoon Cam)
4. Latinos are receiving less than 1 percent of venture-backed funding.
If you read my last post, you know I am an optimist.
Having said that, here is what our worst case scenario would be: The Latino population will continue to grow and continue to consume but not be able to make scalable products and services. Latinos will continue to be able to take out loans to keep consuming, never able to produce wealth individually and for this nation. The United States ends up in a vicious economic cycle. We will have an economic apartheid.
I believe we have the opportunity to change this worst case scenario.
Latinos, you have the opportunity to take matters into your own hands. Our power will not just be derived by our numbers, but by our willingness to exert your power towards creating a more prosperous future.
If you look at who has become a millionaire and billionaire in this century, most of that wealth has been created in tech. Every time you click, swipe and tap on a device someone is making money off your transaction.
This is why I challenge Latino readers to:
1. Apply to jobs at tech companies: Too often Latinos self-exclude and are unwilling to take professional risks. Knowing how to code or design are great skills and integral to creating great products. Learn to code with Sabio.la or take a MOOC to learn design principals. Did you know they are not the only skills needed? Tech companies need accountants, marketers, lawyers, business and sales folks. I know of tech companies that are looking to hire you. Apply! Be a part of the innovation economy.
2. Support those Latino/as that are founding startups: Do not criticize those who see a future that is very different from the present we are living. People who have the vision and foresight need the opportunities and space to work out the kinks, bumps and issues on the road to success. And if you know of a Latina that is looking to get trained have her email me at: info (at) Avionventures (dot) com.
3. Become an Angel investor: If you have a net worth of at least one million US dollars, not including the value of your primary residence or have income at least $200,000 each year for the last two years (or $300,000 together with your spouse if married) and have the expectation to make the same amount this year, become an Angel Investor.
There are several opportunities to be trained to invest in startups. Training is available with Manos Accelerator, the Pipeline Fellowship, and Startup Angels. When you are a part of the several networks insist on investing on Latino/a tech entrepreneurs. Your investment is key to creating wealth and opportunity for the United States.
So do you want to be a passive consumer or will you be a proactive creator? Don’t miss the opportunity.
Deldelp Medina is co-founder and CEO of Avión Ventures.