English as a Second Language Entrepreneurship

Feb 5, 2019

Approximately 45 million people living in the United States were born in a foreign country.   Approximately one in five people living in America speak another language, in addition to English.  Many of these members of our communities did not speak English as their first language.  Frequently, highly skilled, intelligent people immigrate to America (Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, etc.) for the freedom & opportunity our nation offers it’s citizens, but have difficulty gaining employment in the corporate or public sectors because of their fluency with the English language.  A common problem-solving solution to this situation is entrepreneurship by these intelligent, hard working individuals often possessing capital brought from overseas.

Many of these individuals start businesses.  A significant number purchase existing businesses. I recall fondly working with two doctors from Egypt who were Coptic Christians who immigrated to America for religious freedom.  Unfortunately, they could not pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination and needed to pursue another career path to support their family and send their sons to college.  They elected to purchase a business from IBA that allowed them to have a level of responsibility and income appropriate for their intelligence and ability as part of the creation of their new life in a new land. IBA commonly facilitates transactions with entrepreneurs with national origins outside of the United States.  These transactions bring our firm financial remuneration in the form of commissions earned selling businesses for our clients and the ethereal benefits associated with helping an individual in need.

IBA is a sell side representation business brokerage firm, so although we have an established market reputation for working with buyers and their professional advisers employing the principles of integrity, transparency, and “best practices” the emphasis of the firm is providing market leading knowledge, experience, and professional deal negotiation/facilitation skills to business owners interested in selling their privately held companies and family businesses.  Frequently these professional representation services are provided helping an individual who immigrated to the United States and lived the American Dream transition a business asset to a liquid asset that can be used to facilitate a comfortable retirement or left to younger generations as a legacy.  These transactions offer both tangible & intangible rewards to the IBA broker facilitating the transaction and often end with celebratory dinners at ethnic restaurants with culinary delights best enjoyed with a knowledgeable guide.  Over my twenty-five years of facilitating transactions, I had the pleasure of being a guest at Chinese New Year celebrations, at Moroccan Restaurants with shows with belly dancing & swords, and many occasions where pints, tequila shots, & vodka were lifted numerous times in camaraderie.

One issue identified at IBA in facilitating transactions for entrepreneurs who had English as a second language is that there are times when the business verbiage employed in negotiations, due diligence, financing, and legal documentation is difficult for them to understand with accuracy and proper context.  For example, try translating the M&A term “Blue Sky” into a second language from English in the context of the value of the intangible assets of a company.   The value of the intangible assets of a business can be a difficult item to convey to an entrepreneur who has only spoken English during their lifetime if they have not previously encountered the term or are unfamiliar with the concept.

To address this comprehension communication issue, IBA enhanced its representation services in 2018 to include the ability to facilitate transactions in the languages of Spanish & Russian with native speaking business brokers capable of negotiating & facilitating transactions in English and Russian or Spanish simultaneously.   This offering, in its short lifespan, has been embraced by the relevant entrepreneurial communities with smiles & even hugs.

IBA’s lead broker for the Spanish speaking entrepreneurial community is Hernan Tabares.  Mr. Tabares is originally from Argentina and has significant experience in the worlds of technology, finance, and entrepreneurship.  He is actively engaged in the Spanish speaking community and on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Chapter of The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (http://www.nahrepseattle.org/).  Hernan welcomes questions related to the sale or purchase of a business from Spanish speaking entrepreneurs.  He can be reached directly at (425) 454-3052 or hernan@ibainc.com.

IBA’s lead broker for the Russian speaking entrepreneurial community is Oliver Kotelnikov.  Mr. Kotelnikov is originally from Russia and has significant experience in the areas of hospitality & entrepreneurship.  He recently wrote an article in Russian for a monthly Russian publication called The Perspective (https://issuu.com/perspectiverussianadvertisingagency/docs/perspective_january_2019?fbclid=IwAR28OrSy9IKLhXcLSCYX5-WWWBSA4Vc_zsuuIeIOsJeRf4zRQO5TcU9BNDc)  His full page article can be found on page 37 of the magazine.  Oliver welcomes questions related to the sale or purchase of a business from Russian speaking entrepreneurs.  He can be reached directly at (425) 454-3052 or oliver@ibainc.com.

IBA is looking to expand its representation services in the Pacific Northwest into additional languages and actively looking for real estate licensed professionals with appropriate knowledge, experience, and professional skill set to serve IBA’s clients in the purchase & sale of businesses.  If you believe you have the experience, knowledge, & ability to warrant consideration by the Pacific Northwest’s oldest mergers & acquisitions firm serving the middle market as a professional intermediary, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you.  I can be reached at (425) 454-3052 or gregory@ibainc.com.  Gregory Kovsky, President & CEO – IBA.

Immigrants have been coming to America for freedom & opportunity since the Puritans & Quakers in the mid 1600’s.  We are a nation of immigrants.  It is with great pride that IBA serves the many entrepreneurial individuals in the Pacific Northwest who immigrated directly or had family members immigrate to the United States that took the common American path to financial prosperity of entrepreneurship.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, and mergers & acquisitions community on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family owned 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”.