THE STATE OF HISPANIC BUSINESS
“Mexicana by birth, Virginian by choice.”
When I look at the data of the economic growth in the United States, these are the numbers that stand out the most:
- In 2007 there were 2.3 million Hispanic businesses with 350 billion in revenue; that in 2016 increased to 4.1 million Hispanic businesses, with 661 billion in revenue
- 200 out of the Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants
17% population in America is Latino
The Latino population represents 1.5 trillion dollars in purchasing power - which would be the 11th economy in the world if Hispanics in the US were a country.
However only 5% of companies boards of directors are Hispanic and even less when it comes to state and federal representatives.
Hispanics are growing exponentially, and we are currently the fastest growing electorate in the US. The average age is a decade younger than the American counterpart and spends more disposable income. But how can you understand the Hispanic community or as a corporation want the Latino market share when there are no Latinos in the boards of directors or in office? How is this economically and politically sustainable when numbers do not lie and latest reports show that immigrants are twice as likely to start a business, and Latinos started 3 out of 10 businesses in America over the past few years?
The state of Hispanic small business in America is strong and getting stronger, which is why our representation in the state and federal level needs to increase. We cannot be strong as a district or as a commonwealth, with half of our team in the sidelines. There are almost 60 million of Latinos in the United States. So I stand here and ask: how can you understand the needs of our people when there are virtually no Latinos in office? Hispanic entrepreneurs are driving growth in the United States, more than BRICS and China, so how can Latino businesses represent less than 1% in procurement dollars?
But there is no value in me going year after year to Capitol Hill to give these numbers. We need to change the course of events as they exist. In this particular issue I need your help. I need your help to clamor. It is in Virginia’s and in America’s best interest to embrace diversity as a core value. So I ask you to join me. It is right and it is just.
Hispanic businesses have grown 15 times faster than any other businesses in this country doubling since 2007 but they face many unique challenges. With the current administration there are even more difficulties ahead which is why I want to invite you to do more and to help us achieve more. Justice does not come easy. You don't get justice delivered to your doorstep just because you think its right: you need to fight for justice.
Let’s take lessons from entrepreneurship and apply them to government and public policy. Let’s work together, strategize together, and open new markets together. It is time for us to seize the opportunity that presents itself and find a bipartisan compromise. Virginia and our district will not succeed by not letting all of its players in the field. Let’s work together in finding common ground and provide a climate that is conducive for business to grow and for our community to thrive. When it comes to small businesses, there is no time for parties and politics: the focus should be on leveling the playing field, and the message should be “we are open for business” since businesses play a pivotal role in growing the economy.