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Who is the next game-changer?

A recent poll finds more minorities are interested in starting their own businesses

Posted: January 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Homayoun Daryani, owner of the Persia Lounge in Newhall, poses for a portrait in his business on Thursday. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo.

Who will be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? If you judge by who has the most interest in starting a new business, a new Gallup poll suggests it may likely be a minority.

“About half of all racial and ethnic minority students (50 percent) say they plan to start their own business, compared with 37 percent of white students,” says the Gallup-Hope Index.

Just a few years ago in 2011, the share of non-whites who said “I plan to start my own business” was 54 percent and whites was 39 percent.

Bill Miranda, chief executive officer of the Santa Clarita Valley Latino Chamber of Commerce, says he thinks he knows one reason why entrepreneurship resonates with minorities.

“Part of the reason is because it’s an obstacle in climbing the corporate ladder. It’s not as easy to climb the corporate ladder if you have an accent, if you don’t have the corporate look,” he said during a recent interview.

“For Latinos to be truly successful” in the corporate world, he said, “we have to get into the board of directors of corporations, and then we have to start hiring people like us.”

Meantime, running one’s own business will likely continue to appeal to minorities, he said.

Homayoun Daryani, who owns Persia Restaurant in Saugus and recently opened Persia Lounge in Newhall, says ownership of one’s own business is a drive and requires 24/7 dedication.

“Back home I always had my own business,” he said during a recent Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce mixer at Persia Lounge. “And coming here (to the United States), I worked for my brother in New York — still, I couldn’t do it. I had to have my own business.”

“We started a small deli market and opened our restaurant, and now we opened our second location,” said Daryani, whose enterprise was recently named Medium Business of the Year for 2013 by the Chamber.

Both Daryani and Miranda said young people considering entrepreneurship had better be ready for hard work and delayed rewards.

“The advice I would give to a young entrepreneur is, No. 1, no one understand that owning a business is like having a child,” Miranda said.

“You are responsible for that business, that is your business, you’ve got to feed it, change it, nurture it, take care of it. If you don’t, you’re going to lose your child,” He said.

“No. 2, there will be days when you will say, ‘This isn’t going to work. It’s just not going to work. It’s too hard.’
“The successful get past that. They change ‘can’ts’ to ‘cans.’ They change ‘won’t’ to ‘will.’ The successful people ask for help. They put their egos aside.”

Daryani agreed.

“If you’re not there for a smallbusiness, your business will be done,” he said. He also recommended reaching out to the community.

“The only thing I can say, especially with small business, is getting involved with the community,” Daryani said. “That’s what I did with the Chamber.”

“It doesn’t matter how small you are — you can always be a part of something.”

Gallup’s report found that less than half of students are learning about how to start a business.

“It is crucial to identify these students early and cultivate their entrepreneurial energy if Americans expect to maintain the global advantage in entrepreneurship the U.S. has enjoyed,” the report says.

“Creating opportunities for young minority entrepreneurs may provide a much-needed foundation for helping such businesses flourish.”

Deseret News Service contributed to this story.


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