Small Business Success Story: Norma Cell Marquez

Small Business
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Employee turned owner

After working several years for Buenos Días Nebraska, a Spanish newspaper in Grand Island, Nebraska, Norma’s boss offered to sell her the business. Norma jumped at the opportunity to own the newspaper. She has been the proud owner since 2016.

Passion for the business

"I have always liked to write. I published poems and stories online, but when I came to work at this company, I realized there was a lot of need to inform the Hispanic community about many assistance programs and family events which are not printed in Spanish."

Assistance from the Center for Rural Affairs

“Norma has participated in many of our Women’s Business Center trainings, has attended several Coffee Table meetings, and currently carries a loan with us. She is great at promoting events and community functions within the area.” - Griselda Rendon, Center for Rural Affairs Latino loan assistant

Newspaper growth proves successful

Initially, the business only served the tri-state area, but from 2016 to 2017, Norma doubled the amount of sub-scribers, and the demand continues to grow both on paper and online. She changed the paper’s layout/format with the first, new edition out in January 2018, and there are future plans to stream live interviews on Facebook.

Community is important

"The paper is free of charge to the community. I work more than 12 hours a day searching and visiting news pages and reliable information for our news sites. I translate all this information in Spanish for the sole purpose of informing the Hispanic community."

Advice for others

"When we want something, we have to fight for that something. Never use the words ‘I cannot.’ Just try to seek support from people who can help you reach that goal. Do not see the barriers or obstacles that you have to go through, put your eyes on that goal."

Eye on the prize

"My business has grown, and I plan to continue growing. I am like a dreamer who walks slowly but does not take her eyes off her goal, of her dream of keeping the Latino community informed with in Spanish."

Award winner

Because of the dedication to her craft and the community she serves, the Center for Rural Affairs chose Norma as the 2017 Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) Latino Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year.

Since winning the award, Norma says more people trust her, so her business has gained more credibility. This has led to more people seeing the paper as a good option for advertising.

Small business loans available

Small business loans are available up to $150,000. To learn more and see if you qualify, visit cfra.org/loans.

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or persons with limited English proficiency will be made if requested in advance. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.