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Hispanic Entrepreneurship Training Program Focuses On Growth, Networking And Community Building In N.J.

FAIR LAWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A special program in New Jersey is like a business boot camp for Hispanic entrepreneurs.

It involves courses and coaching, but most importantly, community building.

CBS2's Lisa Rozner got a first-hand look at the work being done.

Laura Hoyos is an artist and former teacher, but her current title is one she's worked her whole life for: Business owner.

"This is my first time as a full makeup artist, face and body painter," Hoyos said.

Running Paint 2 Smile out of Englewood was a side hustle for four years, but she promoted herself to full-time boss after being accepted into the Hispanic Entrepreneurship Training Program, now in its fifth year.

It's a course that spans several months, run through the statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

She's one of close to 50 participants.

"It really helped me structure my business model more," Hoyos said. "How to get certified as a minority business owner and a woman business owner."

The Colombian-American graduated in June and then got paired with her coach Tatiana Orozco. From a young age, Orozco watched her family build their coffee growing business in Colombia, and now helps entrepreneurs full-time.

"With Laura, first of all we started working on her ideal client, her business goals," Orozco said. "We also revamped, with another coach, her website."

The focus isn't only on individual growth. It's also on networking and community building, reported CBS2's Lisa Rozner.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Carlos Media On Supporting Hispanic-Owned Businesses

Hoyos has collaborated with fellow participant Olga Medina, who owns Simply You hair studio in Fair Lawn.

"I've done a paint night, where I instructed a couple of her clients how to paint. I've also painted her daughter for a special anniversary," Hoyos said.

"There's no words to describe how it has been helping me to know each other, different people, Latinas. I know have the power to say yes, I can do this," said Medina.

Medina, a Mexican-American, now has tripled her staff. She dreams of expanding, and believes she can, with what she calls the "familia" she's found in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The program is free, thanks to grants and donations.

Applications are already open for next year, and there's a new program just for Latina business owners. For more information, click here.

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