Although it sometimes seems like no one is paying attention, Latinx-owned businesses are now the silent engine of the U.S. economy. These individual and family-owned businesses are changing the landscape and the playing field, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
According to a Stanford study, although Latinx are creating businesses at a higher rate than any other demographic, access to funding and obstacles leave more than $1.4 trillion on the table.
That’s why initiatives like Support Latino Business (SLB) are more urgent and necessary than ever.
By and for the community
Support Latino Business is a national community-led initiative that highlights the significant economic contribution of Latino/x businesses, the jobs they help create, and the positive impact they bring to all local communities and the U.S. economy, an SLB spokesperson told BELatina.
Started by the community for the community in 2018, Support Latino Business (SLB) is a community-led 501.c3 coalition that works to elevate, advocate and resource Latino/x businesses to scale and thrive for generations to come.
“There are hundreds of organizations dedicated to empowering and advancing small and/or Latino/x businesses. We want to recognize the amazing work that has been done while looking ahead to continued collaboration,” they said.
Networking as a key resource
Between annual celebrations, digital resources, and an Impact Fund, Support Latino Business is going all out to help Latinx-owned businesses overcome obstacles.
Their tools include:
- A National Day of Celebration & action: Support Latino Business Day, on September 14.
- The building of a free, national, comprehensive business directory of Latino/x-owned businesses
- A roundup of resources, data, news, tools, news, and opportunities for businesses
- The SLB Impact Fund and partnership grants to help provide financial support to our network of Latino/x business owners
- Features and spotlights Daily spotlighting of Latino/x businesses
The best part? SLB remains a volunteer-run organization, which allows 100% of its funding to go directly to its Impact Fund and partnership grants to provide financial support to the Latino/x business community.
In 2020, SLB awarded nine grants that helped grantees weather the pandemic storm and move closer to achieving their business goals.
In 2021, the initiative partnered with We All Grow and Poderistas to expand its network and deliver funds to Latino-owned small businesses.
Identifying needs early
In addition to advocacy and networking, Support Latino Business has been able to identify early and objectively the primary needs of Latino businesses.
“Latino/x-owned businesses contribute over $800 billion to the American economy every year and start businesses at a faster rate than the national average across industries and yet still receive minimal funding,” they told us. “Resources and information are also not always made so accessible and understandable. That is why we are working with chambers and community partners across the country to build a space and community for digestible content and information to live, and that can be easily accessible and shared.”
Enter the ‘Support Latino Business Day of Action’
Perhaps one of SLB’s most immediate outreach strategies is the “Support Latino Business Day of Action,” a community day of action and national movement that calls on allies and entrepreneurs to join forces and celebrate the important economic contributions Latino-owned businesses make to the United States.
Held on September 14 each year, this celebration highlights not only the money that Latinx-owned businesses pump into the nation’s economy but also the jobs they help create and the positive impact they have on communities.
“Latinos (both U.S. born and foreign-born) are changing the landscape of our country and our economy. We are the consumers, the job creators, the economic engine, and entrepreneurs,” a speaker of the initiative told us. “Latino/x-owned businesses are seeing record growth, and yet despite being the driving force behind U.S. business growth in the past 40 years, the Latino/x community, especially the business narrative, continues to face severe misconceptions and challenges, including financial hurdles.”