Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has dedicated a National Small Business Week in honor of the myriad contributions made by small businesses to the economic strength and stability of America. This year, as a grateful nation once again pays homage to small business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is making a special effort to recognize the tremendous positive impact that Hispanic-owned small businesses continue to make across the nation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are presently 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the nation. All told, they employ another 1.5 million people and boast some $220 billion in annual gross receipts. The expansion of Hispanic-owned small businesses has exploded over the previous two decades, most noticeably in the last five years.
By 2006, Hispanics in the United States were opening businesses at a staggering rate — three times faster than the national average. Although Asians represent the largest sector of all minority business owners (as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau with regard to the total number of Asian-owned businesses and their corresponding workforce), Hispanics are actually starting businesses at a much faster pace.
Risks Return Rewards for Hispanic SBOs
If economists and sociologists are correct in asserting that immigrant entrepreneurs possess a much higher than average appetite for risk, the evidence shows that these calculated risks are increasingly paying off.
“Small businesses drive job creation and economic growth across the nation, and the growing contribution of Hispanic-owned businesses is well documented,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills ahead of the May 18-20 National Small Business week festivities in Washington, D.C.
At this year’s event, three Hispanic-owned small businesses were singled out for their “consistent and invaluable contributions” to the U.S. economy and its ongoing recovery from the worst recession in generations.
“We are pleased to honor these businesses that are playing a powerful role in strengthening their communities and our economy as a whole,” Mills says.
Among the notables receiving honors were Jose A. Lopez, a Dominican Republic-born entrepreneur who is now the president of Marketing Arm International, a green company that develops and markets safe, eco-friendly agricultural products.
Joining Lopez is Jose L. Rodriguez, New Jersey’s “Small Business Person of the Year.” Rodriguez is the CEO of M.E.R.I.T., which provides customers with construction, project, and facility management.
And lastly, there’s Michael and Lisa Lujan of Texas, co-owners of Mentoring Minds, a firm that develops affordable learning tools for children and young adults. Incredibly, Mentoring Minds now ranks 344th in Hispanic Business Magazine’s 2010 list of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S.