One of the best things that came out of the Latina Entrepreneur Academy last year was the chance to meet two amazing entrepreneurs: Nancy Flores and Trina Price. Both are bright, motivated individuals with fantastic ideas on how their business can improve the experience of Austin residents and others far beyond the city borders. Trina Price eventually took third prize in the business plan competition sponsored by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and Nancy Flores took first prize! Both received financial assistance from LULAC to help make their business plans a reality.
Thanks to the event, we were able to sit down with both of them and learn more about their vision for each of their businesses, along with what inspired them to become entrepreneurs and what advice they’d share with aspiring business leaders.
Nancy Flores built submitted a business plan for Austin Vida, a digital news and culture site aimed at Latino audiences in the Austin area in order to more accurately represent these communities in news they’re watching and reading.
“Austin Vida aims to empower our community with information from our point of view, whether it’s highlighting social justice changemakers or digging into the richness of our cultural arts,” Nancy said. “Many local Latinos don’t often see themselves represented accurately in the news they’re watching or reading — and that has to change.
“As a journalist for 17 years, I spent much of that time covering the local Latino community for the Austin American-Statesman, I’ve been incredibly grateful for the many folks across the city who have trusted me to tell their stories. I’ve sat in people’s backyards laughing and cried with them at their kitchen tables. I’ve seen firsthand the diversity of the Latino experience in Austin. We’re not a monolithic group, and we deserve for our stories to be told with nuance. Latinos make up about 33% of Austin’s population, and I saw this growing need for our stories to not be an afterthought.”
Nancy had to make a careful choice in the early months of 2020 as we all learned just how much our lives would change thanks to COVID-19. Was she ready to launch Austin Vida amidst a pandemic? “As we saw movements against racial injustice last summer and COVID-19 disproportionately affecting our communities of color, it was clear that now more than ever publications like Austin Vida needed to exist.”
And her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
“I think for many new entrepreneurs like me, an entire business plan can seem daunting at first. After learning from experts who helped break down the process, I realized that developing a business plan wasn’t much different from what I’ve done throughout my career in writing news stories: Research, report, and craft the story of your future business. Entrepreneurship will test you in so many ways. Stay passionate about why you are creating something but flexible about how you’re creating it.”
—Nancy Flores, LEA Business Plan Competition Winner
Trina Price submitted a business plan for Pebsky Staffing Services, a firm for connecting talented Austin creative professionals with remote work that helps them manage their own time and build their skills.
“The vision of Pebsky Staffing Services is to be expert leaders as a virtual professional employer organization (PEO) through remote meetings, communication and collaboration,” she said. “During my years in the workforce as a graphic and web designer, I was inspired when I began working from home in 2014 after realizing working completely remote was possible through modern technology.”
“Back in college as a graphic major, I was a full-time college student, full-time worker and full-time single parent with no ‘me time.’ I didn’t want anyone else to be in charge of my time, so out of that frustration, PEBSKY Staffing Services (PSS) became a catalyst for remote workers going from ‘full-time to freedom.’ The name PEBSKY is actually an acronym for ‘Providing Excellent Business Services Kreatively Yearly.’”
Thanks to her marketing and communications background, Trina also started a branding and marketing company called Pebsky Creative Designs, LLC., and wrote an e-book during the pandemic titled Print Shop Basics for Graphic Designers.
Her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
``Find business mentors! Look, listen and learn. Surround yourself with a smart business team that helps you see the blind spots. Don't live for your business, let the business live because of you so that you will see your dreams become reality.”
—Trina Price, LEA Business Plan Competition Winner
Looking for more business insights? Read our interview with Entrepreneur Diana Anzaldua, one of the speakers at last year’s Latina Entrepreneur Academy.