As the country’s fastest-growing demographic group and key source of new business growth, Hispanic Americans play a critical role in today’s economy. Why, then, are their contributions so often overlooked?
In a recent piece for Hispanic Heritage Month, Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Business Council, asks that very question:
“We have the highest employment rate among American men aged 16 to 60. Over the last ten years, we increased our contribution to the national workforce by 36 percent. And we are job creators, responsible for eight out of 10 new businesses started in the United States.
“But while we are increasingly driving voting and buying patterns in America, we still are criminally underrepresented in positions of power in the public and private sectors. Does it make any sense that only 16 of S&P 500 CEOs are Hispanic? Or that across the entirety of boards of directors of Fortune 500 companies, Hispanics only hold a grand total of 3 percent of seats?
“Our lack of representation in political office is also disconcerting when compared with our impact in elections. Of all 535 Senators and members of the House of Representatives, only 8 percent are Hispanic.”
Equity and representation are fundamental to entrepreneurship advocacy. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the contributions of Hispanic Americans, it’s critical their voices are amplified, and that policymakers recognize and invest in their success.
Panel of Experts Share Best Resources for Hispanic and Latino Small Business Owners
Small Business Majority convened Jaqueline Vrba, founder/ CEO of BIOME Herbolaria Cosmetics, and Latavia Pineda, Small Business Majority’s National Latino Outreach Manager, to answer questions about challenges, needs, and opportunities relevant to Hispanic and Latino small business owners.
When asked about advocacy, Pineda stressed the importance of a number of policies included in America’s New Business Plan, saying “During the pandemic, we have seen so many Hispanic and Latino business owners struggling to access the tools they need to continue running their businesses from funding to broadband to child care. That is why we are advocating for [policies] that will support the recovery of businesses that were left behind by federal funding programs.”
What is one way to support Hispanic-owned businesses?
SCORE recently shared a blog post asking mentors in their community for advice on how to support Hispanic-owned businesses. Beyond patronage, many emphasized the need to support Hispanic organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and NGOs like Support Latino Business, who advocate for Hispanic business owners and provide critical support resources.
They also recommend diversifying supply chains — a recommendation that also applies to government contracts. As the post notes, “In addition to the economic impact supplier diversity can have on Hispanic-owned businesses, it can also significantly improve their communities’ financial well-being through job creation, increased wages, and tax revenue. When small businesses and their communities grow, so does our nation’s economy.”
Championing Women In Business: A Conversation With Small Business Administration Assistant Administrator Natalie Cofield
Rhett Buttle of Public Private Strategies recently spoke with Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the U.S. Small Business Administration about women business owners, including women of color. Cofield, who last week announced two new Women Business Centers in Puerto Rico, emphasized that “women of color in particular, are the primary drivers of this entrepreneurial growth – yet they have been denied historically equitable access to resources.” She stressed the importance of having an “accomplished Latina (SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman) leading the Small Business Administration.”
RESOURCE: In November, while leading Walker’s Legacy, an organization dedicated to multicultural women entrepreneurs, Cofield presented research on Latinx Women entrepreneurs and the unique challenges they face.