NSU-Broken Arrow, Hispanic Small Business Association to offer business courses in Spanish


Source: Northeastern State University

Spanish-speaking business owners in Oklahoma are encouraged to enroll in professional development training this fall.

The Northeastern State University Broken Arrow campus has partnered with Uma Center and the Hispanic Small Business Association to offer courses in professional development for business startups in Spanish virtually this September through November.

Founder and Executive Director of the Uma Center Dr. Martha Isabel Zapata said that although several business courses are being offered, very few are available in Spanish. She added many Latinos in Oklahoma, specifically in Tulsa, experience a language barrier because English is their second language.

Ramiro Pena
Martha Zapata

“Language becomes a barrier for people who want to get an education,” Zapata said. “Latinos are very entrepreneurial. They want to start a business, but they need knowledge. Offering these courses in Spanish is a way to support the Hispanic community’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

She added offering the courses virtually is also important as it provides prospective and current business owners the flexibility to do the courses whenever they are available to take them.

NSU College of Extended Learning Dean Dr. Eloy Chavez said the series aims to equip entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools necessary to start a business and/or strengthen and grow an existing business. He added this falls in line with the university’s mission to aid diverse members of the community seeking to get ahead in today’s economy.

Topics covered as part of this series include identifying the ideal customer, defining the value proposition, developing and validating a prototype product, exploring types of business structures, clarifying the business model and pricing structure, basic understanding of financial statements, branding, and marketing strategies. Zapata said participants who complete five courses would be eligible for a certificate.

Course instructors include Ramiro Peña, who works as a business consultant and corporate trainer for the Hispanic Small Business Association. The organization supports Tulsa's Hispanic community through business education, technical assistance, community relations development and mentorship. 

Peña has over 25 years of experience working as a human resources and development executive for large oil and telecommunications companies in South America. He has also been a corporate instructor in human resources, leadership, coaching and employment law.

Joining Peña to deliver the courses this fall is Zapata. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Uma Center Inc., a non-profit organization with the mission of creating more equitable health and economic outcomes for Latinx and other underserved populations. 

Zapata worked as an organizational psychologist in her home country conducting recruitment, selection and training for national and international corporations. She also established the first Hispanic entrepreneurship academy in Tulsa, in partnership with Tulsa Technology Center and 36 Degrees North, with classes entirely in Spanish. In addition, she owns a consulting firm that develops educational materials for the Hispanic market and advises businesses on how to serve Latinos in culturally relevant ways.

For more information about the series and to register for courses visit https://academics.nsuok.edu/continuingeducation/spanish_business_courses.aspx. Interested participants can also contact Peña at 918-609-0987 or Zapata at 539-589-0435.

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