Abriendo caminos: New pathways for Latino-owned businesses

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At the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which I have the honor to lead as president and CEO, helping Latino-owned businesses succeed is at the center of our mission. Our responsibility to the more than 4.7 million Latino-owned businesses and our growing network of 260 local chambers and business associations nationwide is to pursue and advocate for inclusive economic growth and development that build shared prosperity.

We represent the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. The number of Latino business owners has grown by 34% over the last 10 years compared to just 1% for all other businesses, according to a recent study by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, and much of this growth has been driven by Latinas. These new businesses are invigorating, highlight our potential and are what motivates me everyday.

In 2020, with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, our chambers became emergency rooms for small businesses. We quickly mobilized and awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants directly to Latino owners and our local chambers to provide assistance. These funds were a lifeline for Latino businesses to keep the lights on, make payroll, rent and meet other critical needs.

We also provided technical assistance, established online resource hubs in English and in Spanish and graduated more than 200 Latino-owned small businesses through our accelerator program.

Last year was also our most active year in Washington, D.C. We raised $850 billion to provide assistance for our Latino small business members. We advocated for access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for both Latino-owned businesses and 501(c) (6) Chambers of Commerce.

As we take a moment to reflect on our progress to date, we have our eyes on the future. There is no denying that the world has dramatically changed, and we need to adapt and thrive, not just to survive. And technology is driving change forward faster than ever before.

We got a glimpse of the transformational power of technology through our partnership with Google last year. We collaborated to provide extra funding and Grow with Google curriculum support to 40 of our chambers across the country. Together, we trained 10,000 Latino small businesses and the initial results and impact we’ve seen is truly remarkable.

Google and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce share a deep commitment to economic opportunity, development and advocacy for Latinos. This is why today, we are sharing that Google will be making a $5 million investment in Latino-owned businesses and community organizations.  Together we are also unveiling a new Latino-owned attribute that will be available across Google Search, Maps and Shopping. All this is part of Google’s $15 million investment in economic equity for Latinos.

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