Latino Business Owners are Fueling Small Business Growth, But Challenges Loom

Did you know that companies launched by Latinos comprise one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. small business?

Estimates suggest that by the end of the decade there could be as many as 12 million small businesses owned by Latinos. But, underscoring this rapid growth, Latino small business owners face significant challenges.

Of over 27 million businesses in the United States, 2.3 million are owned by Latino entrepreneurs. According to Hector V. Barreto, chairman of The Latino Coalition, Latino enterprise constitutes the fastest growing segment of American small business, generating over $500 billion in annual revenue.

But Latino entrepreneurs still face significant challenges in expanding their businesses. In particular, the success of Latino small business owners offers an important incentive for immigration reform and the naturalization of migrant workers—specifically those from Latin America.

Through increased legal immigration, entrepreneurs would not only enjoy a greater supply of legal workers to meet market demands, but also decrease salary competition among wage laborers. Though the degree of its impact is uncertain, one thing is known for sure: immigration reform would generate economic growth, and economic growth leads to the creation of jobs.

There are other challenges as well. The Latino Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to the research and promotion of policies relevant to Hispanics in the United States, is actively working to improve the prospects for Latino-owned businesses. The Latino Coalition Chairman Hector V. Barreto cites the limited ability to secure contracts, healthcare, access to capital, and business regulation as the chief obstacles to the growth of Latino small business. Through a recently launched partnership with Biz2Credit, The Latino Coalition seeks to address at least one of these issues. By increasing Latino entrepreneurs' access to sources of capital, the organization hopes to facilitate the expansion of Latino small business in America.

As the continued success of Latino entrepreneurship will be largely impacted by the restructuring of American immigration policy, the topic of immigration reform merits further discussion. From April 29 to May 1 in Washington D.C., Latino business owners will convene at American's Small Business Summit sponsored by The Latino Coalition and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Small business leaders will discuss the relationship between small business and immigration, along with questions of healthcare and global business expansion. The Latino Coalition will also host a B2B National Procurement Matchmaking event at the Summit to allow Latino small business owners to network with government agencies and Fortune 500 companies with the goal of facilitating new contracts and business relationships.

The role of Latino business owners in reforming American immigration policy has yet to be seen. But, it is evident that the growth and success of the Latino business community will continue to encourage conversations about how willing policy makers are in creating an environment where small businesses of all stripes can thrive.