This fourth of July holiday weekend my wife, daughter, & I watched the movie version of Quiara Alegria Hudes and Li-Manuel Miranda’s musical collaboration, In the Heights. The wonderful story told through song was a colorful tapestry woven from the dreams, challenges, and achievements of a multi-generational set of characters connected through residence in a micro community in New York City. As a professional who has advocated and worked for small business owners for almost thirty years, a dominant story line impacting multiple characters that resonated with me was the positive presentation of the entrepreneurial opportunities that exist in America. In the story, people from humble beginnings achieve financial success, occupational control, and create employment opportunities for others in a diverse set of family-owned businesses ranging from the corner market to a transportation service to a hair salon to the creation of a fashion line. This experience portrayed in the story on the screen is reflective of the reality of America for many citizens and immigrants.
No other country in the world offers the diverse opportunities for upward mobility available in the United States. All that is required to start a business in America is a willingness to execute on an idea, contribute hard work, and risk time & capital in pursuit of a better tomorrow. However, in America an entrepreneur is not alone in chasing their dream, different than most nations our country at all levels of government encourages and supports small business ownership through loans backed by large, robust government departments like the Small Business Administration and United States Department of Agriculture, tax incentives for research & development of new products and for investment in our inner cities and economically challenged areas through Economic Opportunity Zone designation, and a spectrum of mentoring and training programs.
As the oldest business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, the stories we have heard from clients selling family-owned businesses and privately held companies in the conversion of a business asset to cash to facilitate comfortable retirement, passing wealth to future generations and family, so they have opportunities that were not available to them, and in philanthropy are both heart-warming and inspirational.
The stories we hear involve both people who go down time tested pathways for immigrant entrepreneurial success and those who through knowledge, experience, and ability forge a place at the table in industries not characteristically identified with their ethnic heritage. As examples, we have worked with entrepreneurs of Hispanic origin who own landscaping and janitorial companies and French pastry chefs who created amazing bakeries, but have also worked with French trained electrical engineers who built technology industry companies, Mexican & German teachers who established beloved schools, Bulgarian immigrants who created an internationally recognized company in the marine industry, and Indian entrepreneurs who carved out significant market share in the construction industry as business owners.
IBA is unique in the business brokerage community in that we actively seek to provide professional representation to first generation immigrants. We consider it an honor to share our knowledge, experience, and professional skillset with those who may most need it to achieve a strong market value for their business at time of sale and a deal facilitated employing best practices where all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. When possible, we offer support in their native language to insure decisions are made from a foundation of knowledge without language comprehension impacting mental clarity. We are also honored to support organizations like the SBA as guest lecturers and seminar participants, like seasoned IBA intermediary Hernan Tabares has done for the Hispanic community in the Puget Sound region.
Sunday night, I like many residents of the Eastside turned out to celebrate our nation’s birthday at Bellevue Downtown Park. I was honored to be part of a group in attendance including three immigrants, two from England and one from Germany, who proudly wore red, white, and blue and conveyed their appreciation for all that America has offered them as citizens by choice. Around us we identified people of African, Asian, European, and Spanish speaking national origin. The gathering was celebratory and friendly prior to the fireworks during our 3+ hours in attendance and featured polite and courteous behavior as the crowd disbursed. Sixty years ago Rita Moreno in West Side Story sang, “I want to live in America”. I am happy to report that sentiment is still strong around the world. I encourage everyone as we enter the 246th year of America’s history to look around you and appreciate all the freedom and opportunity that exists here like in no other nation in the world. Our strength as a nation, as always, is found in our diversity, vesting power in the people, and the wisdom found in our constitution, a template emulated by all nations seeking to create a garden where every seed can grow into a strong tree.
IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, accounting, legal, wealth advisory, and real estate communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family businesses. IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.