As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month this month, we reflect on the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanic-Americans across the country!
I’m particularly excited this year to highlight the resiliency and strength found throughout entrepreneurs in the Latinx community across the US.
According to the 2020 State Entrepreneurship report published by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, Latino businesses (especially Latina-owned) are the fastest-growing businesses and revenues in the US, and are starting businesses at a faster rate than the national average across all industries. Even among a global pandemic!
This statistic doesn’t surprise me, as Hispanics and Latinx Americans are some of the most resilient communities to date, having faced adversities through the stresses of immigration, access to opportunities, and quality education. These communities are mentally capable and prepared to withstand hardships because of their existing rich network of communal support for each other.
As a Latina entrepreneur myself, I started my personal brand in April 2019, and then launched Siembra Studios in May 2020, shortly after the global pandemic was announced. The struggles to keep two businesses afloat during a pandemic, while also taking care of my personal well-being and finding a place to live, was very difficult. Thankfully, I was also eligible for a PPP Direct Forgiveness loan through the Small Business Administration, which significantly helped me with basic expenses such as payroll and operations. I also lived with my sister for the majority of the time while I helped her with my niece and nephew, newly born twins. I’ll never forget those diaper changes, naps, and helping my sister breastfeed twins during meetings, calls, and client work!.
Although we’re continuing to see record growth with Latinx and Hispanic-owned businesses, we’re also continuing to see Latinos struggle to secure capital for businesses from national banks. The research shows that only 20% of Latinx-owned businesses that applied for national bank loans over $100,000 obtained funding, compared to 50% of white-owned businesses. These barriers to growth have resulted in Latinx using personal savings or help from family and friends as the primary way most start their businesses (including me)! Despite these financial challenges, Latinx entrepreneurs are still impressively continuing to show up, grow up, and succeed in business!
The report also found that Latinx-owned businesses active in organizational networks such as chambers of commerce or trade associations are more than twice as likely to experience funding success as those that weren’t a part of networking activities. As my friend and Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) Board Member, Sofia Bork, expressed to me, “Too often, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities struggle with obtaining access to funding and investment. Organizations must close the gap in being active and authentic participants in the communities they exist in and provide equitable awareness of the programs and resources available.”
Business development programs through the GHCC, such as CRECER and CRECIENDO JUNTAS are a great way to expand your network, gain exposure, build awareness around access to capital, and learn crucial business growth education. As a CRECER alumna, I now feel confident in sharing my business proposal with funders, I know where to search for capital as a Latina small business owner, and I’ve learned about the business characteristics capital providers commonly look for when providing funds.
For more information about these programs, visit the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, or your local Chamber of Commerce! If you’re struggling to bring all of your business ideas into one cohesive concept, check out our Cultivation Consultation and how we can help you bring your seeds of change to bloom!
Written by: Siembra Studios Communications Director, Christine Lacayo