September marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month — a time to celebrate the heritage, cultures and contributions of all Latino and Hispanic Americans in the U.S. For us in the Southwest, it is a reminder of our continued commitment to protect all consumers in every community. For many here is the state of New Mexico, it is a reminder of the work that our colleagues do to ensure that many of these resources are available to Spanish speakers.
The number of Hispanic businesses in the country grew at twice the rate of all U.S. firms between 2012 and 2016, and those Hispanic-owned companies contributed about $668 billion in revenue to the national economy last year, up by nearly double since 2007, according to a report released in October by business-intelligence company Geoscape.
Despite the robust growth of Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., Hispanic business owners face unique challenges to securing business financing, such as lack of credit, language barriers, or challenges posed by immigration status. Studies show that minorities who own businesses have a tougher time getting financing than do white business owners.
Many financing sources are available to minority-owned businesses, including Hispanic business owners, however. And although there may be obstacles standing in the way of securing that financing, there also are numerous organizations eager to help minority-owned businesses get the funding they need to succeed.
Whether you are thinking about moving to Albuquerque to start a business or you are an outstanding local business looking to take that next step, Albuquerque has everything you need!
The City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department (EDD) works to create, diversify, and enhance job growth and to promote business development and stability. EDD supports business and the development community within city government and between city agencies.
Albuquerque Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) is a collective of local business owners actively supporting independent businesses, non-profits and arts groups
Another great resource is The AHCC which is organized to promote economic development, to enhance economic development opportunities and to provide business and workforce education with an emphasis on the Hispanic and Small Business Community in Albuquerque and New Mexico.
Since inception in 2010 Encuentro’s focus has been to provide the Latino immigrant community with top quality adult education programs in a welcoming and culturally accessible environment.
One of the best resources for any business owner is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA maintains a Spanish-language version of its website for Spanish-speaking business owners.
Additionally, Hispanic business owners may take advantage of the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program, which helps qualifying minority-owned businesses “develop and grow their businesses through one-to-one counseling, training workshops, and management and technical guidance,” and also provides access to government contracting opportunities, according to the SBA’s website.
The program is designed for business owners who have experienced social or economic disadvantage. Members of some groups, including African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian-Americans, are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged, according to the SBA.
Individuals who are not a member of one of those groups can still qualify for the 8(a) program, but must provide “substantial evidence and documentation that demonstrates that they have been subjected to bias or discrimination and are economically disadvantaged,” the SBA website states.
One of the largest organizations in the United States catering to the needs of Hispanic business owners is the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which claims to represent more than 4.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses and bills itself as “America’s largest Hispanic business organization.” The chamber has a variety of resources available to help Hispanic business owners survive and thrive.
One of the barriers to financing for minority-owned businesses is poor credit or lack of credit. In such instances, microloans offered by nonprofit organizations may be the solution. Microloans can be made for up to $50,000, although the average microloan is about $13,000. Often, the lenders provide coaching to business owners. Many microloan lenders are funded by the SBA.
Another resource minority business owners can avail themselves of are Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) business centers. The Minority Business Development Agency is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and operates business development centers throughout the country. These centers can help Hispanic business owners apply for loans, or help with other business development issues.