Latino Entrepreneur Is In The Business Of Helping Others Achieve Success

Latino Entrepreneur Is In The Business Of Helping Others Achieve Success

Arturo Adonay entered the business world from a young age in his native Mexico.

“Since I was a child, I have worked in all sorts of businesses. I have sold gold, body creams and clothes. I have had taquerías, pizzerias, as well as advertising and marketing agencies. I have also been in distribution,” said Adonay, who is currently a managing partner of Sara Capital Group.

After 23 years of living in the U.S., Adonay has become a renowned entrepreneur in the Southeast. His love for doing business has led him to discover another passion — helping other entrepreneurs.

“I consider myself a facilitator, a bridge for our community and our people. I like to take them by the hand while they create a sustainable business. I love that. That’s my passion,” said Adonay.

Adonay considers himself a natural businessman. He is one of the masterminds behind the idea of commercial plazas for Hispanics. Plaza Fiesta and Plaza de las Américas, in Atlanta’s metropolitan area, and Plaza del Sol, in Kissimmee, Florida, are examples of his creative endeavors.

Adonay wanted to build shopping plazas similar to those in Latin America and Europe, where large and small businesses converge, “dedicating a part of the shopping center to promoting small businesses,” he said. He had done something similar in Mexico and was lucky enough to meet people in the U.S. who agreed with his vision. Together, they made “the magic happen. It was a blessing, luck; you name it.”

After living more than two decades in the U.S., Adonay has seen many success stories highlighting Latinos’ “magic and creativity.” But he is aware that Latino businesses often follow a particular path.

“Americans are very structured. They make a business plan in advance, project more and give the company some time to grow. If in that span the business doesn’t grow, they close it up saying, ‘It didn’t work, what’s next,’” said the businessman.


He has successfully set up Latin-themed strip malls in several U.S. cities. (Negocios Now)

Latinos are different.

They “often jump into the pool without knowing how to swim. They usually don’t know what they’re doing. However, through thick and thin, they learn to swim while trying to survive. When they see that the business is sinking, magic, creativity and family support come through, which is something I don’t see among other ethnicities.”

In times of crisis, “the whole family rolls up their sleeves and says, we have invested here, now we have to keep the business afloat, whatever it takes.” At this point, an exciting transformation happens from the business and community perspectives, he said.

“What we — and all the small entrepreneurs — are facing is unprecedented,” said Adonay, referring to the pandemic.

He believes companies must reinvent themselves, for example, doing business online. However, “not all businesses are prepared to do it. That is where we, as leaders, have to work with them, looking for alternatives, such as new distribution channels,” he said.

Common mistakes in challenging times

Being afraid of what the future might bring is a big mistake. “When you start focusing on the catastrophe before there is a catastrophe.” An entrepreneur cannot be afraid of what will happen tomorrow,” Adonay said.

Not seeing an opportunity is another mistake. In challenging times “businesses succeed if you are creative. When things are going down, you can dive in and rise with the wave. Sometimes, in times of crisis, small businesses come to a standstill rather than proactively looking for ways to grow the business,” he said.

A big mistake is not being austere in personal expenses. There are people who, in challenging times, “still have cable television with 300 channels and make unnecessary expenses. Instead, you have to tighten your belt, lower your spending and set money aside to continue supporting your business. Eventually, it’ll give you a monthly profit,” he said.

Not reinventing yourself is a mistake, too. “Wherever there is a challenge, there is an opportunity. But you have to look for it proactively,” he said.

Tips for those seeking to become entrepreneurs 

“Businesses start from the inside out.” First, you have to organize the family or personal economy, he said. “Set aside some money and invest it [in the company] hoping for a return. Keep your personal budget straight to continue investing your extra money in your business, so you can support and fuel it. Little by little, it will give you a return. … Eventually, that return will allow you to live the lifestyle you had when you started. If you can’t handle your finances, you can’t run a business,” he said.

Passion is important. His advice is to open a business dealing with those things one cares about most. “If you know how to paint, create a business where you teach painting classes and sell painting supplies,” he said.

Do not be afraid of banks. “There is the fear of asking for a loan, often because of the language barrier,” he said.

Arturo Adonay, un hombre de negocios cuya pasión es ayudar a otros was first published in Negocios Now


(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos. Edited by Melanie Slone and Fern Siegel.)


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Young Indians Propelling Private Space Tech

Young Indians Propelling Private Space Tech

Anirudh Sharma, an alumnus of relatively new private university Lovely Professional University, was 19 years old when he began working on a satellite project. The year was 2017, and he and a small team of friends had been brainstorming about space traffic management—especially space debris, which plagues satellites.

“The present observation of space traffic is limited to ground monitoring through radars,” said Sharma. “The global rush to launch micro-satellites over the last five years necessitated the need for a mechanism for space-based monitoring of space traffic.”

Sharma and his college mate Rahul Rawat started Digantara Research and Technology. Sharma and Rawat’s ideas struck a chord with researchers and innovators in India’s startup capital Bangalore, and the Indian Institute of Science, one of India’s top institutions for scientific research, incubated their project.

The startup is one of few private companies working on a space-based solution for space debris, said Sharma, and is working on expanding realtime space-based surveillance with what he called “a constellation of cost-efficient nanosatellites.”

Though India’s startup scene is known for information technology work, ventures into space tech like Digantara are growing. On Aug. 12, startup Skyroot Aerospace became the first private Indian company to test-fire a homegrown upper-stage rocket engine.

To support growth in the industry, the Indian government took several steps to liberalize the space tech market in June and is opening up to the possibilities of doing away with the monopoly of the government-owned Indian Space Research Organization.

“ISRO’s student programs gave a lot of encouragement to students in space technology to look at the sector commercially,” said Sharma. “And now since the government opened the space sector, a lot of Indian space tech companies have got funding. We are planning to raise $1 million from investors.”

In May, the government announced that startups and private firms would be allowed to use the facilities and assets of the ISRO. And, the Indian government wants to establish the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre, which would support space technology development and incubation. It would also be the go-to authority for firms looking to test, launch and license space ventures.

The Indian space-tech market is likely to grow quickly over the next five years, said Pawan Kumar Chandana, CEO and CTO of Skyroot Aerospace. “Coupled with the government’s recent announcements, the demand for satellite services in India is likely to fuel this growth.”

But India’s private space tech firms have a long way to go before they can compete with big names. India’s share in the global space market, estimated at more than $350 billion, is less than 2 percent. Compared with global peers raising big money, Indian space startups, many started by recent graduates, are working on shoestring budgets.

“SpaceX and Blue Origin drew an estimated $1.9 billion in combined investment during the year, while low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband venture OneWeb attracted another $1.25 billion,” according to a report by technology analyst Bryce Space and technology. “Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism startup Virgin Galactic raised more than $682 million in 2019.” 

Worldwide startups in space ventures pulled in $5.7 billion in financing in 2019, “largely driven by investors continuing to pour large amounts of capital into a handful of the industry’s largest companies,” the report states.

India’s competitors in Asia are advanced economies like Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan. But the Indian Space Research Organization itself is proof budgets aren’t always the sole determinant of success. The annual budget for India’s Department of Space for 2019-2020 is around $1.67 Billion (Rs 12,473.26 crore). In comparison, NASA’s annual budget for the fiscal year is more than $21 billion. But the Indian organization carries out regular satellite launches and Mars and Moon missions, including the successful 2014 Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter Mission, which cost $74 million — less than the $108 million budget of the Hollywood movie “The Martian.”

Despite political upheavals and dramatic changes in the government and its policies, space tech has been supported across parties, and the ISRO has run unaffected by changes in New Delhi.

The organization began running student satellite programs as early as 2009 and in 2016, it launched a consignment of 20 satellites, including two developed by students — Swayam, developed by students of College of Engineering at Pune, and Sathyabamasat, built by Sathyabama University students. Many private universities have fostered breeding grounds for space tech startups.

Dhruva Space, one of about 10 space-tech startups in the country, became the first private company in India to manufacture satellites, in 2012. And Mumbai-based Exseed Space became the first private commercial organization in the country to launch a satellite to space in December 2018, via the Elon Musk-led SpaceX — that too at a cost of about $1.3 million.

Pixxel, a space technology company started in 2019 by students of Birla Institute of Technology and Science at Pilani, a top engineering college in northwestern India, is working on launching a constellation of 30 satellites by mid-2023. The satellites will provide images of Earth to subscribers every 24 hours. The first launch is scheduled for November.

But not all companies see the government’s efforts to liberalize the sector and streamline the regulatory hurdles with the new agency as enough yet. Pixxel, for example, will launch its satellites from Russia instead of India to avoid the 18 percent goods and services tax to launch on ISRO’s rocket.

The tax was one major factor in choosing Russia over India, said Awais Ahmed, Pixxel’s founder and CEO. “And secondly, in India, we needed to wait for four months before getting a clearance to launch from ISRO. There is not much clarity about space tech laws in India, although it is likely to change over the next few months with IN-SPACe.”

But the company is optimistic: It recently raised $5 million through Indian venture capital firms Lightspeed India Partners, Blume Ventures and growX ventures, adding to the $700,000 it raised last year. Ahmed said 85 percent of the components will be made in India.

(Edited by Siddharthya Roy and Cathy Jones.)

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