“I’m a very passionate, hard-working person,” says Leticia Vélez, President and CEO of Vélez Global Enterprises and IC Genius, and a 2012 graduate of the first Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at City Colleges of Chicago’s Harold Washington College.
“I get that from my dad.”
That entrepreneurial nature has stood her in good stead throughout her career. Focusing on customer service, she managed to double revenues for the mini bus company she worked for within a year. A few years later she incorporated her own company Chicago Mini Bus Travel.
An unexpected business setback for the company led her to investigating the Goldman Sachs program, and as part of the first cohort of that initiative, she was able to hone her skills in negotiating, marketing, and employment management. Developing a strategic and customized growth plan to take her businesses to the next level, she founded Vélez Global Enterprises soon after, a company that offers its clients business growth consulting, access to capital, and disruptive and competitive strategic solutions and brand amplification.
A self-described serial entrepreneur, 2018 found Vélez co-founding IC Genius, a supportive system for small businesses offering advisory board memberships where companies meet with non-competitive business leaders to talk about their successes, their issues, learn from one another, and develop a trusted circle of advisors to help each other advance their businesses all on a digital platform.
Leticia’s message to her clients is clear: small businesses are the source of big corporations. “Every business started small, but people tend to forget.”
Her energy and commitment to helping small businesses succeed has found her much in demand for speaking engagements and recognition for her work, including serving on boards, being a national mentor, and advisory panels such as the Wells Fargo STEM Connector, National Urban Fellows, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s President Organization, Women Impacting Public Policy, Instituto del Progresso Latino, and the World Business Chicago: Strategy 10 Initiative Committee.
“Graduating from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at City Colleges of Chicago helped give me the critical tools I needed to advance my companies. I’ve been able to grow a large network of business contacts and resources,” she says, a claim made evident by the 100-plus family members, friends and business contacts who attended her graduation from the Goldman Sachs program.
“Half the graduation audience was there for me. I’m great at introductions: I love putting together combinations of businesses and people who can help each other navigate through difficult waters and find their successes.”