Martha De La Torre '78

Creating opportunities as a Spanish-languge Entrepreneur.

In the early 1990s, El Clasificado almost went bankrupt. But co-founder, president and CEO Martha De La Torre wouldn't let that happen, and El Clasificado is now the leading Spanish classified online portal and a weekly Spanish-language print directory of classified ads distributed throughout Southern California. "I just couldn't go bankrupt and walk away from my debt. I could never look at myself in the mirror if I didn't take care of that. That kept me going."

It's a good thing she powered through. Martha, previously a CPA, relieved El Clasificado of its debt by doing consulting work on the side. That was in 1992. Now, El Clasificado has a weekly circulation of more than 460,000 with a readership of more than 1.5 million Latinos, as well as a website that boasts more than 6 million page views and 300,000 unique visitors a month.

"When I wrote the business plan I thought it could really grow, but I never thought it'd be as it is now. I didn't even imagine the Internet in 1988." And El Clasificado is still growing, expanding beyond Los Angeles to New York, Seattle, Bakersfield, Fresno — even Puerto Rico and Mexico.

"When I started the company, I had no idea how important it is to have opportunities for people so they can help themselves. We do charity work, but it's better to teach people to do it themselves."