Authenticity in Business

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Essays

Twin brothers Sean and Kenneth Salas’ mother, an immigrant from Mexico, started a small Mexican restaurant, and over 25 years, grew it into a chain across Southern California. Over the course of this experience, she navigated the company cashflows, hiring and building a team, operational and logistics scale, and creating a brand. She ended up having to close her business and move back to Mexico, from where the brothers were accepted to University of Berkeley. They jumped into investment banking, big company CPG, and private equity in New York City. 

They are twins who learned by example, having grown up in a house with an entrepreneur and business owner as a mother. They grew up immersed in the fascinating corner of the small business universe that is Latino-owned businesses, and experienced first-hand the pain of being underbanked while trying to run a commercial operation.

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When they started Camino Financial out of Harvard Business School, they knew that Latino-owned small business was among the fastest growing segments in the United States economy; they knew that persisting issues relating to immigration status disproportionately affected their community; they recognized a unique set of cultural attitudes around access to capital. They had seen the small business story play out, with a front row seat.

It’s rare to see such a large, urgent need that is so *underconsidered* as that of financing opportunity for Latinos. 68 million American adults are disconnected from the financial system in some way, and approximately HALF of all Latino and African American households are disconnected from the financial system, compared to one in five white households. And by extension, Latino-owned businesses strongly underindex in their ability to get financing, for cultural, political, and financial factors which all require a very deft touch. To that point…

I heard Sean and Kenny tell their story and describe this market, and before they had even started describing their alternative lending solution (very small loans targeted specifically at Latino-owned businesses) I was full of conviction about their future. They are telling a story from a perspective that can’t be faked. They are using instincts that can’t be taught, building brand that can’t be copied. 

When you have a recipe of true authenticity plus massive business opportunity, (not to mention a strong belief that this is an *important* piece of the new American story), you’ve gotta get involved. We are so excited to be supporting Camino Financial in their journey. Watch these boys roll!

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