Listening Topic: Business – Informal talk at a business association

A. Listen to a presentation to a local business group. As you listen, number the main ideas in the order they are presented.

___ The number of female immigrant entrepreneurs has increased drastically since 1980.

___ b   Many of these business owners need more business training and more cultural understanding.

___ One of the challenges these women face is raising enough money to start and maintain a business.

___  Some immigrant women begin their own businesses because they have few other options for employment.

___  These women are making a great impact on their communities and the economy.

B. Listen again. Write T for true or F for false for each statement. Listen again if necessary.

 Fifty years ago, in the United States, it was more common for a male to own a small business or manufacturing company.

 Although female immigrant entrepreneurs have increased, there are still more native-born female entrepreneurs.

 Economics and a desire for independence are some of the reasons immigrant women enter the business field.

 Female immigrant entrepreneurs contribute to the community by employing others and by serving as role models.

5   Getting funding is no longer a problem for female immigrants going into business.

6   Connie, the speaker from Mexico, owned a bakery in Mexico.

7   Kim started a dog grooming center.

8   Lan doesn’t need to work, but she likes getting out of the house and talking with other women.



1 a   5 b   4 c   2 d   3 e


1 T   2 F   3 T   4 T   5 F   6 F   7 F   8 T


A = Radio Host, B = Connie, C = Kim, D = Lan

A:   Hello everyone. As you know, this month we’re focusing on the growing trend of immigrant female business owners. After some facts and figures and… I think you’ll be surprised to hear some of these figures. I know I was. I’ll introduce three local women who will speak about how they got started and challenges they’ve faced. Finally we’ll talk about support for women in our community who want to become self-employed.

Owning your own business-working for yourself, instead of someone else-has long been part of the American dream. But the profile of the self-owned business and its proprietor is changing. Fifty years ago it was more likely to be a white male who owned a small business or manufacturing company. Using data from the 2000 census, the US Immigration Policy Center noted that the number of businesses owned by women immigrants has increased 190% since 1990 and 468% since 1980! The number of immigrant female entrepreneurs has recently surpassed the number of native-born female entrepreneurs. In fact, they are expected to soon challenge the number of immigrant male entrepreneurs.

Immigrant female entrepreneurs stand out as one of the fastest growing groups of business owners in the US today. The largest group comes from Latin America and the Caribbean; the second largest, from Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Unlike the main street hardware store or small manufacturing business owned by white males in the 1950’s, the businesses these women are starting up reflect their diverse backgrounds and diverse needs. For many it’s economics that forces them into business: they need to support their families and this seems like the only way. Foreign born doctors, mathematicians, and teachers who do not know enough English to work in their fields take stock of their skills and the local market. Using their ingenuity, they embark on new careers often starting in their homes baking, sewing, or providing a service.

But not all are in desperate financial straits. Some immigrant women start businesses simply because they now have the freedom to do so and they like being independent.

Whatever their motivation, we need to acknowledge the impact of these female entrepreneurs as role models for other immigrants and younger generations. Furthermore, they contribute to the economy when they start to employ other people, including immigrant women. As they recognize their right to have a voice, they become more active in the business community and speak up for issues such as health-care reform. Some even go on to lobbying in Washington or in state governments.

One of the many hurdles these businesswomen face is access to capital. With no collateral, no credit history and little or no professional experience in the business they are about to enter, these women are not likely to qualify for most traditional loans, especially those from banks. Help does exist through loan programs and grants such as the Count Me In program, and the US SBA Micro Loan Program. I predict we will see some changes and increased investment by mainstream financial institutions. Even the government recommends increasing start-up capital and more training specific to their needs.

I’d like to shift our focus now to our guests and let them tell us what they do and how they got started. Who wants to go first?

B:   I’ll go first. My name’s Connie, and I’m from Mexico. I own a small bakery. In Mexico I was an accountant but when I came here ten years ago I didn’t speak English. I have 3 children and we needed money so I started making Mexican pastries to sell at the local farmer’s market. As the business grew it took over our apartment. Soon we had two refrigerators in our tiny living room! I tried to get a loan, but the bank wouldn’t even talk to me. One of my customers put me in touch with Count Me In. They gave me a loan so I could open my own bakery. Now I employ six people and we are open six days a week, serving lunch as well as bread and pastries.

C:   My name is Kim and I moved here from Korea ten years ago. My husband is American. I used to work in a bank in Korea but when I arrived in the US, I didn’t work at first. We had a small child and I didn’t want to leave him with strangers. We needed money so I began babysitting for my friends. The children were babies and slept most of the time. My friends were happy and I was glad to have the extra money. When I decided to expand into a day care center, I had to apply for a certificate from the state and a loan. The forms were impossible for me to understand and the bank was not encouraging. Only the Small Business Administration (SBA) helped me. I am sure I would not be here today if they hadn’t helped. They were very patient.

D:   My name is Lan and I come from Vietnam. I own a nail salon. I started doing nails in a beauty salon working for an American woman. When she retired three years ago I didn’t know what to do. I don’t have to work, but I don’t want to stay home all day. I like being out of the house and talking with other women. I wanted my own shop but I didn’t have enough money. My former employer introduced me to a SCORE volunteer who helped me apply for a loan. I opened my shop two years ago. At first it was just me but now there are three of us-all Vietnamese!

A:   Thank you, ladies. Now we’d like to hear your ideas. What kind of support is still needed?

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