TAMPA — Roberto Borrero has always dreamed of launching his own mobile app to search and order food based on the most popular web sites, including Hispanic restaurants.
Now he feels that he may be closer to achieving his project.
New federal money of $500,000 could now offer him the opportunity as well as other Hispanic entrepreneurs to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
The idea was one of 15 Community Projects submitted by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor to the House Appropriations Committee that is being funded for the 2023 fiscal year. The money will be used to launch the LatinTech Accelerator, a new business model and initiative for Latino tech founders.
“These community projects will help tackle the rising cost of living, educate the next generation, and create good-paying jobs that lift our community,” said Castor.
The initiative will be managed by Tampa Bay Wave, a local nonprofit tech incubator and accelerator, in coordination with the Tampa Bay Latin Chamber of Commerce. To qualify for the LatinTech Accelerator, companies must be 51% owned, controlled and operated by Hispanics.
Linda Olson, founder and chief executive officer of Tampa Bay Wave, said the LatinTech Accelerator will make a meaningful difference to diversify and empower a Hispanic business sector that is linked to technology.
“This program will fill a critical gap in Florida’s startup ecosystem by helping a demographically important but underrepresented segment of tech entrepreneurs here and across the U.S.,” said Olson.
Accelerators for Hispanic entrepreneurs can provide opportunities to connect with other business leaders, investors and industry experts.
Startups with a Latino founder received just 2.1% of the nation’s venture capital in 2021, according to LatinxVC, a nonprofit focused on increasing venture capital investment.