Russ: This is the BusinessMakers Show, heard on the radio, and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com, and continuing on at the 2012 Business Matchmaking Event in Santa Clara. My guest now is Hector Barreto, the Chairman of The Latino Coalition, a former guest, at that point, I think, just finishing up your stint of heading up the Small Business Administration.
Hector: That's right.
Russ: Hector, welcome back to the BusinessMakers Show.
Hector: It's great to be here.
Russ: Okay, well, let's start at the top. Why are you always showing up at these business matchmaking events?
Hector: Well, I love 'em and it's almost like a family reunion and, yeah, I tell ya, you can't get enough of the energy, the excitement, the buzz whenever you come to one of these events so I'm always happy to come back.
Russ: Great, well, I think, also, the last time that I interviewed you -- it seems like it was two years ago -- that you were just beginning your stint as the head of the Latino Coalition. Is that right?
Hector: That's correct, that's correct, and when I left the administration, I went back to private business but I was also asked to assume the chairmanship of the Latino Coalition, which is a nationwide organization that represents the interests of over 1.2 million Hispanic businesses in the United States.
Russ: Well, it seems to me like it must be perfect timing because that portion of our population seems to be growing exponentially, changing the flavor of business in America and you must be real excited about it.
Hector: Well, I am excited and, you know when we were at SBA, we used to study all these trends. The fastest-growing segment of small business in the United States, still to this day, is Hispanic business, 3 million companies, generating over $400 billion of revenue and demographers tell us those numbers could double every 5 years so we could have $12 million Hispanic businesses within the next 10 years and they're all around the country.
Russ: Okay so what does the coalition do for those businesses?
Hector: Well, I like to keep it simple so we help them access capital, we help them with their capacity or their training and we obviously help them access contracts and that's what I call "The 3 C's." We're also trying to help 'em save money so that's a 4th C, "cause," because we learned a long time ago, it's not what you make, it's what you get to keep and, in this environment, that's really important.
Russ: Well, and from what I remember of the last interview, you're eminently qualified to do this. I think you even grew up in an entrepreneurial family.
Hector: Well, that's true. My father was the founder of The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which is the advocacy group for those 3 million Hispanic businesses and we had all kinds of businesses growing up. After college, I went to work for a corporation and then I moved to California to start my own businesses. I've run business organizations, I've run the SBA. Of course now I'm back in business and I run Latino Coalition so this has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Russ: Okay so when you say you're back in business and run the Latino Corporation, what are you back in business doing?
Hector: Well, I - before I left to Washington - I had an insurance company, so I went back to the insurance company. We're growing that, primarily employee benefits, but this last year, I started a new company. I couldn't help myself. I started a tequila company, of all things. I've always been in services, now I have a product, and the name of that tequila is Tribute to My Father because that's who really had the idea to start tequila in the first place. We have a tequila ranch in Mexico. My father passed away some years ago, and so the name of the tequila in Spanish is Tributo a Mi Padre, which means "Tribute to My Father."
Russ: Tributo a Mi Padre.
Hector: Tribute to My Father.
Russ: Now I don't know if this is good news or bad news but you're the fourth guest on the BusinessMakers Show that has launched a tequila business but I know the other three are doing very, very well. Is yours on the market as well?
Hector: Oh sure, yes it is. We did a soft launch at the end of last year but we're already selling in California, New Jersey, New York, and we're gonna break out into about another ten states this year. Tequila is the third-leading spirit sold in the United States. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry. There's a lotta competition out there but I think we have somethin very special, and I invite you to visit us on our website, tributotequila.com, to learn more.
Russ: I'll do. I'll tell you, I've contributed to that billion-dollar and I am a huge tequila fan but, back to the last time I interviewed you, do you miss at all not being associated with the federal government anymore, directly?
Hector: Well, I'm still very involved, you know? I've had the opportunity to be the second-longest-serving administrator in U.S. history. I appointed a lot of those executives there so I'm still very much in relationship with them. We still have offices in DC. Of course my work with Latino Coalition, we're working with all the government agencies and a lot of Fortune 500 companies, so I don't feel like I've left it. I'm wearing a different hat right now but the work is still very similar to what I was doing before.
Russ: What years were you there?
Hector: I served between 2001 and 2006.
Russ: Okay so you went there with Bush, Sr.?
Hector: No, George W Bush. I was part of George W, both of his terms. I started in the first term and then I left about halfway through the second term.
Russ: Okay, okay, well, Hector, I really appreciate you coming back and visiting with us. I wish you good luck with the tequila and good look with the Latino Coalition and everything else you're involved in.
Hector: Thank you so much. I look forward to our next interview.
Russ: You bet, absolutely, and that's hector Barreto, now the Chairman of the Latino Coalition, former Head of the SBA and now CEO and Entrepreneur of say the name again?
Hector: Tribute Tequila, Tributo a Mi Padre Tequila, at tributotequila.com.
Russ: And this is the BusinessMakers Show heard on the radio and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com.