The rapid boom of the Latino population is gradually changing the scope of the way we do business. Decades ago, the idea of a Latino-owned business was not exactly rampant. Although, there isn’t a lack of desire for financial growth, resources have not exactly been evenly distributed among aspiring business owners. Banks have not eagerly funded ventures brought to them by these business owners. The insinuation that proposals don’t go beyond the review stage is not unfounded. The reason as to why loans aren’t as accessible to many entrepreneurs is potentially connected to a misconception that Latinos might not have all the qualifications for loan approvals. However, there are certain states labeled “funding-friendly” such as Florida, California, New York, Texas and Nevada. The source of financing varies from private equity to lines of credit to assist business owners trying to launch their dream.
Opportunities for Latino entrepreneurs have certainly opened up today more than in years past. If you were raised in New York City, you are familiar with bodegas. These small grocery stores started sprouting in Latino neighborhoods between the 1940s and 1950s. The 24-hour, 7 day hours these stores stay open give the community a chance to pick up items they might need when in a jam at late hours of the night. After-hours laundry, headache, cramps, unexpected time of the month, or snacks. You name it, and can probably find the item you need to resolve your late-night emergency. Bodegas provided the first phase of entrepreneurship for many Puerto Ricans and Dominican families arriving to New York by the masses during this time. Many families gathered their hard-earned savings to collectively own something together. Carribean and Latin American immigrants that came later caught on to the business creating a boom of this type of business. Nowadays, these types of convenient stores are owned by many different individuals and continue to fight their way through the breakdown of “mom and pop stores” happening in modern society.
Growing up, my parents did their best to provide us with the necessities. Arriving from the Dominican Republic with a dream to do better, they searched high and low for ideas to create the financial stability to give us the extras. A bodega was the most obvious money maker during the early 1980s, as they watched other families make a little extra money. It inspired my parents to take a chance on entrepreneurship. The good intentions was created from a collaboration of their life savings and hard work to make the bodega business a success. The unexpected long hours cut into their family time but they could not afford to hire labor to help. Instead, family chipped in here and there as they could to help build their dream. Over time, the needs of the business outweigh the wins for some people. Ultimately, the sacrifices did not pay enough, leading them to sell and find jobs that would accommodate a lifestyle that could promote a better family life.
Despite years of hardship building businesses, lack of opportunity, and people that did not believe in the vision, we are having groundbreaking progress as entrepreneurs. Latino owned-businesses today make up 14% of the 33 million total of businesses in the United States. The Hispanic Small Business Report released in April 2019 delivered good news. Claritas, LLC, a leader in marketing that offers insight on businesses and consumer spending behavior has reported information that should keep us optimistic for the future. The unprecedented growth over the course of the past 6 years has seen a 40.2% growth which equates to 1 out of 7 businesses managed by someone that looks like us! Latinos are becoming entrepreneurs at double the rate of other ethnicities. The proof is in the pudding, as we see marketers creating fresh ways to hone in on how to profit from the burst of new business.
The faces of Latino entrepreneurs is changing reflecting a new wave of business owners. In 2019 it’s not only our fathers, uncles, and grandfathers building independent wealth. Millennials, women, and professionals under the age of 45 are mastering modern technology and using their wit as an advantage. Online businesses are increasingly popular using social media apps such as Facebook Instagram, YouTube to increase visibility reaching more people which can translate into purchasing power. It also helps manage budget for marketing which can go to another part of the business. Access to a wider network of suppliers and vendors can increase potential to make affordable choices to improve cost control. We cannot forget that many of these businesses are portable and can be done from home eliminating substantial overhead costs. These reasons are helping bulldoze a new avenue for Latinos to continue gaining strength in the entrepreneurial world.
We have come a long way with still a ways to go but it is obvious we are gaining traction in society. Latinos cannot be discarded, instead, we are capturing the interest of those looking to sell their goods and services. Decades ago we were a non-factor, a population that was overlooked because it was perceived that we were not impacting the economy. The rate of our purchasing power is growing so rapidly, it is projected to reach $1.7 trillion by the year 2020.
Latinas are also owning their power by seeking the same opportunities in education and business to compete with the rest of the world increasing their potential in society. It’s exciting to see how the highway to success is opening up for the young women coming up. Empowered women are demonstrating strength, intelligence and business savvy as they find their position in business. The various industries look to target our consumer spending by using advertising as a means to attract more of our wallets. Women have been indicated as the main decision makers of large purchases including buying a home, contributing to the growth in home ownership. We are in the business of making money, as well as spending it.
Latinos are full speed ahead in the business of growing their worth, no longer confined to the idea that they have to work for someone else in order to make it. Despite the lack of resources, an effort to find our own identity in the world of entrepreneurship is evident. Whether we begin the journey as a way of having the American Dream or a need to provide for our loved ones, the end result is a desire to achieve unrivaled success. It is important during this search for goals to have your own measure of affluence. The unstoppable power of success is not necessarily in owning a business, it should be in leading others to a more positive way of thinking to help pass the baton to the next generation of entrepreneurs.