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Utah Business

Many US immigrants enter the country with an entreprenerial spirit like no other. Here's how we can help foster future entrepreneurs.

Latino-Owned Businesses Are On The Rise In Utah

Business has just one language, one culture; regardless of the industry and the personal background of its owners (gender, race, creed, etc.) In business, people must speak the language of discipline and perseverance. 

In 2018, 4.4 million Latino-owned businesses in the US contributed more than $700 billion to the economy, according to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Based on the US Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, roughly 1.2 million business owners in the United States are immigrant Hispanics. 

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In fact, the Harvard Business Review reported that immigrants from all over the world constitute 15 percent of the general US workforce, but they account for around a quarter of US entrepreneurs. Almost half of Hispanic-owned companies are owned by women, according to census data.

86 percent of immigrant-owned firms with at least $1 million in annual revenues are owned by millennials (under age 34) who came to the US as children, according to “Insights” by Stanford Business. On a larger scale, Latino immigrants are twice as likely as the native-born population to start a small business, according to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Small Business Majority reports that DREAMers don’t shy away from entrepreneurship, either. Those protected under DACA work for small businesses and start their own small businesses in droves. In Utah, there are more than 25,000 Hispanic business owners, who together, are contributing more than $9.6 billion to the local economy every year. 

Many of us Hispanics came to the US with higher education from our countries of origin, but those studies are not valid here. So, we have very well educated people who are not able to find jobs in the fields they studied. As a consequence, many of our community members create their own job opportunities.

Many are opening businesses to self-employ themselves to perform new skill sets they have learned in the US, or to implement the skills they already had. Naturally, the very first customers they have are from their own community, so it is quite common to see a brand-new Hispanic business focus on the Hispanic population.

At the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we identified the five industries where most of the Hispanic business community work: food, construction, temporary services (landscapers and/or snow removal), professional services (accountants, photographers, graphic designers, stylists, sports, etc.), and cleaning (commercial and residential). 

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We are serving these entrepreneurs with educational programs and training while providing help and support from technical colleges, universities, cities, counties, financial institutions, and more than 25 corporate partners, who contribute not only money but time and knowledge to support and educate our business community on the statewide level. 

Our mission at the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is to serve our Hispanic business community where they are, not only from our central location in Salt Lake City. A very ambitious plan we are accomplishing thanks to the continuing education programs we deliver in the form of workshops and seminars, and to the very successful Business Academy Program, which is being delivered in ten consecutive weekly sessions, and where we teach the foundation of business for existing business owners and community members who are planning to open their first business challenge. 

The Business Academy program has already trained more than 225 Hispanic business owners in its previous five cohorts, which are being delivered at Ogden-Weber Tech College, Salt Lake Community College, Mountainland Tech College, and Horizonte Training Center. The next cohort will begin the last week of January and will also include Tooele Tech College. Some of the classes will be offered in Logan and St. George, as well.

With close to 700 active members, the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is an organization of business and economy. We are a solid bridge connecting both the Hispanic business community and corporate America, to help them to understand and to effectively reach a very important segment.

Let’s continue working together to make a stronger economy in our beautiful state.

Alex Guzman is the president and CEO of the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at alex.guzman@utahhcc.com.