Latino Entrepreneurs Visit Hartford Schools To Inspire Students


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Leticia Colon de Mejias (r) is one of five Latino entrepreneurs who are participating in the “La Fuerza Innovadora” project
Leticia Colon de Mejias gave a swift rundown of her life in the Bulkeley High School auditorium Thursday.
“I’m a mother of six children, I own four companies, last year I made over a million dollars and I’m under 40 years old,” said Colon, who founded Energy Efficiencies Solutions, a Windsor energy conservation firm, four years ago with a $25,000 loan.

The longer version? It involved seeing every job as an opportunity, researching ideas and being ready for anything, she told students. “None of the doors will open until you start asking the questions,” she said.
Colon came to Bulkeley as one of the faces of “La Fuerza Innovadora,” or “the Innovative Force,” a state-backed media campaign highlighting Latino entrepreneurship in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In a partnership with the Hartford school system, The Latino Way, a Hartford marketing company that was hired for the campaign, has also distributed “La Fuerza” DVDs to city teachers and brought speakers to Bulkeley, Burr and SAND schools during Hispanic Heritage Month.

“It’s so powerful when you have Latino professionals with your Latino last name speaking about the success they have as entrepreneurs,” said Maria Lino, a founder and principal of The Latino Way. “And they are local people.”

At Bulkeley Thursday, John Soto, the wealthy owner of Space-Craft Manufacturing in New Haven, recalled growing up poor in Puerto Rico. He moved to the East Coast when he was 15, labored in menial jobs and was targeted with discriminatory remarks over his ethnicity, he told the teens.
“Don’t ever let anyone define you because of your….

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