15 of the Most Successful Hispanic Entrepreneurs

16 of the Most Successful Hispanic Entrepreneurs

The modern era has been a fertile period for the emergence of successful Hispanic entrepreneurs. By 2060, it’s projected that 1 out of every 3 Americans will be Hispanic, suggesting an even greater surge in Hispanic entrepreneurial success in the years to come.

Most Successful Hispanic Entrepreneurs

Here is a list of 16 highly successful Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States, who have left an indelible mark on their respective industries.

Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez (Zumba Fitness)

Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez’s journey from a conventional aerobics instructor to the founder of Zumba Fitness is a testament to innovation in the fitness industry. His idea to blend dance with exercise transformed the global fitness landscape. The global adoption of Zumba signifies a shift in consumer preferences towards more engaging and culturally diverse forms of fitness.

  • Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez, a creative force in the fitness industry, pioneered a new genre of physical exercise with the advent of Zumba Fitness in the year 2001. Born and raised in Colombia, Perez’s journey began as a conventional aerobics instructor.
  • However, his experimental spirit led him to incorporate elements of dance into his aerobics classes during his tenure in America, laying the foundation for the inception of Zumba. Zumba Fitness has taken the global exercise domain by storm over the past couple of decades.
  • This novel form of dance-fitness fusion is not only fun but is also an effective way to keep fit, earning Perez a massive following.
  • As of today, Zumba Fitness classes have permeated the global fitness market and are available in an astounding 200,000 locations in more than 180 countries.
  • It’s estimated that approximately 15 million fitness enthusiasts currently participate in Zumba Fitness classes, demonstrating the remarkable success and reach of Perez’s innovation.

Perez’s success highlights the potential of cultural fusion in business innovation. His work emphasizes the importance of passion and creativity in entrepreneurship, inspiring many to explore culturally rich business ideas.

successful hispanic entrepreneurs zumba

Jorge Perez (The Related Group)

Jorge Perez’s transformative impact on South Florida’s skyline showcases the power of strategic pivoting in business. His shift from affordable housing to high-end condominiums not only marked significant personal success but also reflected the evolving real estate market dynamics.

  • Jorge Perez, born in Argentina, ventured onto U.S. soil in 1968, freshly graduated from high school. Miami became his new home where he began to construct an empire dedicated to affordable housing.
  • Perez and New York developer Stephen Ross joined forces to co-found The Related Group. Initially focusing on affordable housing, the company has since pivoted to specialize in high-end condominiums, reflecting Miami’s dynamic real estate market.
  • This strategic shift has propelled Perez into the elite group of billionaires. His profound impact on South Florida’s skyline has earned him the title ‘the condo king of South Florida’.
  • Perez’s journey exemplifies the quintessential rags-to-riches story, portraying his adaptability and business acumen.

Perez’s rags-to-riches story is a powerful narrative about adaptability and market awareness in entrepreneurship. His journey underscores the importance of understanding and responding to market trends for sustained business success.

Carlos Castro (Todos Supermarket)

Carlos Castro’s journey from a Salvadoran immigrant to the founder of Todos Supermarket illustrates perseverance. His supermarket chain caters specifically to Latino shoppers, addressing a significant market need.

  • Carlos Castro, born in El Salvador, established the Todos Supermarket chain in 1990. He brought forth a novel concept – the first supermarket chain in the Washington D.C. area explicitly tailored to cater to Latino shoppers.
  • Castro’s path to success was fraught with challenges. He escaped the civil unrest in El Salvador, initially entering the U.S. illegally, and was deported. Unwilling to give up, he made a second attempt, this time successfully immigrating legally.
  • He eventually relocated his entire family to the U.S., identified a much-needed business niche, and embarked on his entrepreneurial journey, proving resilience in the face of adversity.

Castro’s entrepreneurial journey underscores the importance of community-focused business models and the value of serving niche markets.

Marcelo Claure (BrightStar and Sprint)

Claure’s transition from BrightStar founder to Sprint CEO showcases his expertise in telecommunications and his strategic business acumen. His leadership at Sprint has been instrumental in its growth and industry impact.

  • Marcelo Claure is a highly regarded figure in the telecommunication industry. While he’s more recognized as the Chief Executive Officer of Sprint, his entrepreneurial spirit was first manifested when he founded BrightStar, a mobile device distributor.
  • BrightStar rapidly achieved monumental success and now serves over 200 carriers in 50 different countries, generating annual revenues exceeding $7 billion.
  • Claure’s story highlights the potential of innovation and strategic planning in business growth.

Claure’s success is indicative of the significant opportunities in the technology sector and highlights the importance of innovation and strategic leadership.

successful hispanic entrepreneurs

Tony Jimenez (MicroTech)

Tony Jimenez leveraged his military experience to establish MicroTech, addressing complex IT challenges in government and private sectors. His company’s success in federal projects showcases his ability to bridge technology and service.

  • Tony Jimenez transitioned from a 24-year-long active military service, including being a combat veteran, into a successful entrepreneur.
  • His extensive experience working with the Department of Defense on diverse platform transformation challenges inspired him to establish MicroTech. MicroTech specializes in addressing complex IT issues for government and private sector clients.
  • It’s currently involved in over a hundred Federal projects, showcasing Jimenez’s ability to leverage his military background to solve critical technical problems on a large scale.

Jimenez’s story highlights the importance of leveraging unique experiences to solve industry-specific problems, emphasizing the value of diversity in entrepreneurship.

Maria Contreras-Sweet (ProAmerica Bank)

Maria Contreras-Sweet broke new ground by founding ProAmerica Bank, focusing on community development and financial empowerment. Her leadership in both the financial and marketing sectors underlines her diverse entrepreneurial skills.

  • Maria Contreras-Sweet, originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, broke new ground when she launched ProAmerica, marking the establishment of California’s first Latino-originated commercial bank in over 35 years.
  • Riding on the wave of this significant achievement, she further broadened her entrepreneurial scope by launching Contreras-Sweet Enterprises, a firm specializing in marketing and research solutions.
  • The firm’s impressive clientele includes big-name corporations such as the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the Walt Disney estate, and Coca-Cola, showcasing her far-reaching influence in diverse sectors.

Her achievements spotlight the impact of entrepreneurial ventures in community development and the importance of representation in the finance industry.

Matias De Tezanos (AutoWeb)

Matias De Tezanos, CEO of AutoWeb.com, has been a serial entrepreneur with successful ventures like Hoteles.com and BrokersWeb.com. His innovative approach in online marketing and advertising has made significant industry impacts.

  • Matias De Tezanos, the CEO of AutoWeb.com, stands out as a serial entrepreneur. AutoWeb.com is a unique pay-per-click marketing network catering to automobile dealers and manufacturers.
  • However, his entrepreneurial prowess extends beyond AutoWeb. He founded Hoteles.com, a hotel reservation site specifically designed for Spanish speakers, then moved on to create the online advertising network ClickDiario.com.
  • In 2011, he further expanded his portfolio by founding BrokersWeb.com, a pay-per-click insurance advertising company. His diverse ventures illustrate his innovative spirit and strategic business acumen.

De Tezanos’ entrepreneurial journey demonstrates the power of innovation in digital marketing and the potential of seizing opportunities in evolving online spaces.

Martha De La Torre (El Clasificado)

Martha De La Torre founded El Clasificado, a classified ads directory targeting Latino immigrants, demonstrating resilience and determination. Her venture has since grown significantly, showcasing the demand for niche market publications.

  • In 1988, Martha De La Torre pioneered a significant initiative when she founded El Clasificado, a classified ads directory targeting Latino immigrants. Her entrepreneurial journey was no walk in the park.
  • As she established her start-up, she had to juggle side consulting jobs to keep her business afloat, exemplifying the tenacity often required in entrepreneurship. To help run the business, she cleverly enlisted talented work-study students from a nearby high school.
  • The company’s web presence was initiated in 1996, and it currently attracts about 24 million page views every month, a testament to its wide reach and relevance.

Her story emphasizes the significance of media in serving specific communities and the potential of niche market-focused entrepreneurship.

successful hispanic entrepreneurs

Jordi Munoz (3D Robotics)

Jordi Munoz co-founded 3D Robotics, an innovative drone company, showcasing his technical prowess and inventive spirit. His company’s venture capital success indicates the high market demand for tech innovations.

  • Jordi Munoz, who moved to the United States from Tijuana in 2007, made headlines with his innovative spirit. He gained recognition for hacking the sensors of his Nintendo Wii controller to create the first auto-piloted drone.
  • After sharing a video of his creation online, Munoz found himself in high demand for his unique skill set.
  • Today, his company, 3D Robotics, which remains an attractive investment opportunity, has raised nearly $159 million in venture capital, highlighting the significant potential in technology-based ventures.

Munoz’s journey highlights the growing importance of technology startups and the vast potential for innovation in the tech sector.

Sofia Vergara (Entertainment)

Sofia Vergara, known for her acting career, has also made significant strides in entrepreneurship with ventures in media, fashion, and beauty. Her diverse business interests illustrate her versatility and business acumen.

  • Sofia Vergara is a force to be reckoned with, both in the entertainment world and in the realm of entrepreneurship. Born in Colombia, Vergara gained worldwide recognition as an actress, notably as a star of the sitcom ‘Modern Family’.
  • In 2019, she was listed as the second World’s Highest-Paid Actress, bringing in an impressive $44.1 million. However, acting is not her sole focus. Vergara co-founded Latino World Entertainment, a successful media and talent agency creating a significant impact in the industry.
  • Her entrepreneurial drive extends to numerous endorsement deals she’s taken on in both English and Spanish markets, substantially contributing to her earnings.
  • Vergara has also ventured into the fashion industry with her denim brand, Sofía Jeans by Sofía Vergara, launched a fragrance line, and introduced a furniture line, Rooms to Go.
  • Each of these undertakings broadens her influence in the entrepreneurial scene, underlining her versatility and business acumen.

Vergara’s entrepreneurial success demonstrates the power of personal branding and cross-industry ventures, providing a model for leveraging fame into successful business enterprises.

Rea Ann Silva (Cosmetics)

Rea Ann Silva revolutionized the cosmetics industry with her invention of the Beautyblender. Her product became a staple in makeup application, leading to the expansion of her product line and significant commercial success.

  • A makeup artist by profession, Rea Ann Silva changed the game in the world of cosmetics with her invention of the Beautyblender.
  • Launched in 2002, the Beautyblender is an edgeless sponge specifically designed to apply foundation evenly. Silva’s invention was met with immediate success, which gave her the platform to expand her product line.
  • In 2018, she launched her own foundation line called ‘Bounce’, featuring a commendable diversity of 40 shades. To date, over 50 million units of the Beautyblender have been sold, and it’s been embraced by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and Heidi Klum.
  • Given its ongoing popularity, Silva’s company anticipates $215 million in retail sales for this year alone, a testament to her entrepreneurial vision and innovative mindset.

Silva’s success story is a prime example of how innovative products can transform an industry and emphasizes the importance of addressing market gaps.

successful hispanic entrepreneurs Beautyblender

Geisha Williams (Energy)

Geisha Williams, as CEO of PG&E, led significant initiatives towards sustainability and integrating renewable energy sources. Her leadership in the energy sector highlights the importance of sustainable practices in corporate strategy.

  • Making history as the first Latina to lead a Fortune 500 company, Geisha Williams is the CEO and President of PG&E, one of the United States’ largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies.
  • Since joining PG&E, Williams has been instrumental in moving the company towards sustainability. She oversaw the procurement of almost 33% of PG&E’s energy from renewable sources, thereby reducing its environmental footprint.
  • Moreover, under Williams’s leadership, the company has emerged as a leader in integrating renewables, modernizing grids, and utilizing smart-grid technologies.
  • Despite these major changes, PG&E maintained its high standard of service, achieving the best electric reliability in its history during Williams’s tenure.

Williams’s tenure at PG&E underscores the growing role of environmental responsibility in corporate leadership and the potential for significant impact by diverse leaders in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Adriana Cisneros (Media)

Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros, has played a crucial role in shaping media, digital, and interactive sectors. Her leadership extends to philanthropy and education, emphasizing social responsibility in business.

  • Adriana Cisneros is a prominent figure in the media industry, serving as CEO of the family-owned business, Cisneros. This third-generation business has its hands in media, digital and interactive, and real estate sectors.
  • In addition to her role at Cisneros, Adriana is the President of Fundación Cisneros, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing education in Latin America.
  • Her influence extends beyond her core business, as she also co-chairs Endeavor Miami, serves as a director and executive committee member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, is a trustee of the Paley Center for Media, and is a board member of several high-profile organizations, including the Knight Foundation and the University of Miami.

Cisneros’s multifaceted career illustrates the diverse impact that entrepreneurs can have, spanning business success and societal contributions.

Jessica Alba (Beauty Care)

Jessica Alba, beyond her acting career, founded The Honest Company, creating a range of safe and effective products. Her advocacy for health and safety in consumer products has made a notable impact in the industry.

  • Jessica Alba is a true example of a multifaceted leader. She is not just a globally recognized actress, but also a successful businesswoman, a dedicated advocate for health and safety, and a New York Times bestselling author.
  • Alba founded The Honest Company and Honest Beauty, creating a lineup of more than 101 safe and effective products for baby, personal care, and cleaning.
  • Her entrepreneurial journey is intrinsically tied to her advocacy for safe and healthy living, and she shares this vision in her bestselling book, The Honest Life.
  • Alba was named among the top twenty of Fast Company’s 100 most creative people in business, and one of Fortune’s 10 most powerful women entrepreneurs.
  • The Honest Company’s Honest to Goodness program reflects her commitment to philanthropy, having donated over twelve million products and 15,000 employee participation hours.

Alba’s transition into entrepreneurship highlights the potential for celebrities to leverage their influence for social good and business success, particularly in the health and wellness sector.

Pete Maldonado (Food and Beverage)

Pete Maldonado co-founded Chomps, redefining healthy snacks with all-natural meat products. His leadership and strategic direction have led to significant growth and recognition in the food industry.

  • The realm of healthy snacks was redefined when Pete Maldonado co-founded Chomps, a Florida-based company specializing in all-natural meat snack products.
  • Chomps offers a varied product line that appeals to a range of dietary preferences and requirements, including paleo-friendly, gluten-free, Whole30-approved, and non-GMO beef jerky sticks.
  • Maldonado currently holds the position of CEO, guiding the company’s strategic direction and expansion. Launched in 2012, Chomps has rapidly gained recognition for its quality and innovation.
  • Its success is evidenced by its impressive ranking on the Inc. 5000 list of the most successful companies in America – debuting at No. 124 in 2018 and jumping to No. 62 in the following year.
  • This significant leap was driven by over 4,400% growth in revenue over three years, with earnings reaching a remarkable $21 million in 2018. Chomps’ growth trajectory and consistent performance underscore Maldonado’s effective leadership and entrepreneurial acumen.

Maldonado’s success with Chomps highlights the growing consumer demand for health-conscious food options and the potential for innovation in the food and beverage industry.

successful hispanic entrepreneurs

Here’s a snapshot of the incredible diversity, talent, and entrepreneurial spirit of the most successful Hispanic entrepreneurs in the U.S. today:

EntrepreneurIndustryNotable CompanyKey Achievement
Alberto 'Beto' PerezFitnessZumba FitnessFounded Zumba Fitness, operating in over 180 countries
Jorge PerezReal EstateThe Related GroupCo-founder of The Related Group, known as 'the condo king of South Florida'
Carlos CastroRetailTodos SupermarketFounded first supermarket chain catering to Latino shoppers in Washington D.C. area
Marcelo ClaureTelecomBrightStar and SprintFounder of BrightStar and CEO of Sprint
Tony JimenezITMicroTechFounded MicroTech, contracted for over a hundred Federal projects
Maria Contreras-SweetFinance/MarketingProAmerica Bank/Contreras-Sweet EnterprisesLaunched ProAmerica Bank and Contreras-Sweet Enterprises
Matias De TezanosInternet BusinessAutoWebCEO of AutoWeb.com, serial entrepreneur
Martha De La TorreAdvertisingEl ClasificadoFounder of El Clasificado
Jordi MunozTechnology3D RoboticsCo-founder of 3D Robotics
Sofia VergaraEntertainmentLatino World EntertainmentCo-founder and 2nd World’s Highest-Paid Actress 2019
Rea Ann SilvaCosmeticsBeautyblenderCreator of iconic Beautyblender, projecting $215 million sales in a year
Geisha WilliamsEnergyPG&EFirst Latina to lead a Fortune 500 company
Adriana CisnerosMediaCisnerosCEO of Cisneros and President of Fundación Cisneros
Jessica AlbaBeauty CareThe Honest CompanyFounder of The Honest Company and Honest Beauty
Pete MaldonadoFood and BeverageChompsCo-founder and CEO, achieved over 4,400% revenue growth over three years

Image: Depositphotos.com

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".