Thursday, May 23, 2024

Maria Contreras-Sweet: Latino, Immigrant entrepreneurs play “enormous” role in economy

Maria Contreras Sweet

Speaking on the heels of National Small Business Week, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet lauded the impact of Latino entrepreneurs in the economy, wherein, as a group, Latinos contribute some $468 billion every year. The “American Dream” for Latinos, moreover, is in large part framed by the power to own and operate a business, according to a Latino Decisions poll. And with election season now breaking the horizon, the capacity to harness both the tangible benefits and conceptual ambitions of this voting bloc will prove to be a precious resource in itself.

“The impact of the Latino community is enormous,” Contreras-Sweet said. “What we see here is, particularly for example, immigrants are twice as likely to start a business, they’re twice as likely to file a patent. Today, immigrants employ 1 out of every 10 employees…. It is important to recognize the contributions that immigrant populations are making.”

But even with a recent report suggesting that immigrants and their children founded more than 40 percent of all Fortune 500 companies, obstacles remain for Latino entrepreneurs to obtain loans, among others, resulting in a drying up of funds and a significantly higher rate of failure than white- or Asian-owned businesses.

“The really important [and] powerful point to make here is that as we think about other countries like Greece [and] like Italy that have a flat-line population and thus they have a declining economy, you really want to embrace everybody to make sure that we maximize and optimize our productivity, per person,” said Contreras-Sweet. “Latinos are a growing population, and so to the extent that we embrace them and we help them start their businesses, we can be more successful.”

Latin Post