HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) – Owning and operating a business comes with many tasks. From filing paperwork, to getting cleared by local agencies and marketing, a lot of work is needed. The work can be even more difficult if english is not your first language. UNL Extension Educator Sandra Barrera knows this, and is dedicated to help people overcome language barriers.
Barrera is in charge of the Latino Small Business Program for the UNL Extension Office, which offers free services to local entrepreneurs.
“We provide services that are free, and that are in their own language, I think that is the most important thing. And we are the bridge between the agencies, so we help them to connect and follow rules and learn about what they need.” said Barrera.
The free services are more than just translating important paperwork, Barrera focuses on more than just starting a business, saying “Marketing, Facebook, how to post, we teach people how to pay taxes, sales tax, insurance, budgeting.”
She’s been working with the Extension Office for 5 years and has since provided services to 290 businesses across the state. A good amount of those businesses are on 4th Street in Grand Island, which is Barrera’s biggest renovation project at the moment. A lot of minority-owned businesses are located there, but need more funding and community support to attract more customers.
“We want to see the visitors walk and come to this street. Also we’re looking for the community to learn what kind of entrepreneurs we have and we need the support from the community.”
Sandra Barrera herself was born and raised in Colombia. She was a Certified Public Accountant in the country’s capital of Bogotá.
She immigrated to the United States 20 years ago to escape terrorism in her country, she says education is what made that possible.
“In Colombia the main goal for everybody is to go to college, so the education is so important. It’s the main choice that you have to survive in your country”.
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