This Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked local entrepreneurs to share their journeys with us as Hispanic entrepreneurs. The first of these stories comes from Jorge Ruiz, CEO at FinConecta.
Please tell us about your background and what drove you to become an entrepreneur.
I was born and raised in Bolivia, came to the US for my undergrad, and went back to Bolivia to start my professional life which brought me back to Miami 18 years ago. As I look at the roots of becoming an entrepreneur, I can see my mom as my biggest inspiration. I remember her passion for her different endeavors, always looking at the positive side of things. I believe this upbringing of mine sparked my interest in being curious, designing new businesses, creating new ways to address needs, and constantly looking for new opportunities. Throughout my entrepreneurial life, I founded companies in the financial industry, education, retail, and healthcare. Some were more successful than others but, undoubtedly, each added in me a bigger interest in going for the next one.
What was the inspiration behind starting FinConecta?
Prior to FinConecta, I led a global innovation team at Citibank engaging with hundreds of fintechs around the world. Together with an amazing team, we launched 16 innovation programs in Israel, Poland, Kenya, Australia, Hong Kong, Argentina, the US, and many others. We met with +3,000 startups, the majority of them required some type of integration in order to operate with institutions like Citibank. At the time there was no solution that could accelerate the integration and collaboration among all the different players. That led me to design and create FinConecta, one single place for all financial services integration needs. Our mission is to create an interconnected global ecosystem to enable access to financial services at the least cost possible. Our platform allows anyone to become a financial service provider to launch solutions without having to invest in infrastructure.
What does being a Hispanic entrepreneur in the United States mean to you?
I think the biggest challenge for a Hispanic Entrepreneur, especially for those coming from small countries like mine, is the lack of a strong network. Knowing the right people is a fundamental ingredient for anything you want to do in life. A network offers you knowledge, resources, scale, and speed. As the saying goes “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together”. I think constructing a solid network of connections where you collaborate, add value as well as get support is paramount for any entrepreneur. Here is where Endeavor plays a strategic role that all of us should learn to maximize.
Do you have any advice you would like to share with fellow Hispanic entrepreneurs?
Being a Hispanic entrepreneur is a great asset. We understand the behavior of the strongest minority in the US. We know how Latin American countries operate, how things are done, what works, and what does not. If you use these capabilities together with a strong network partner, such as Endeavor, you could have a solid competitive advantage.
These responses have only been edited for grammar.