The economy needs to create 150,000 new jobs each month to keep the unemployment rate steady and to balance population growth. In fact, just last month, ADP reported that companies created 177,000 new jobs – down from 263,000 in March. But while the numbers continue to fluctuate from month-to-month and year-to-year, there's one thing that hasn't changed, at least since 2007, and that's the continued rise of Hispanic entrepreneurship in America.
Hispanics are the new majority minority. According to the Census Bureau, an estimated 55 million Hispanics live in the United States, approximately 17 percent of the population. Moreover, according to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic entrepreneurs are creating businesses at a rate 15 times faster than the national average. The USHCC also reported that there are 4 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., and that those businesses are generating more than $660 billion in annual revenue – an astonishing 88 percent increase to the U.S. economy since 2007.
But despite the entrepreneurial spirit of Hispanics and their contribution to job creation and economic growth in the U.S., many still struggle to identify the necessary funding to keep their businesses growing and prosperous. In fact, less than 2 percent of venture capital funding goes towards Hispanic-owned businesses. And bank loans? Good luck. Sometimes securing a loan can be just as difficult as securing an investor.
But have no fear. Thanks to Chicago technology hub 1871 and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, an incubator was created specifically for Hispanic-owned tech startups – the first of its kind in the U.S. This 12-week incubator program provides Hispanic entrepreneurs with access to community, resources and funding! That's right – funding.
And while historically venture capital firms have invested very little into Hispanic-owned startups, that too is changing in Chicago. Not only are investors looking at Hispanic-owned businesses to now include in their portfolios, but investors are also looking to create more diversity within their own management teams as well.
Imagine the economic growth and job creation once Hispanic-owned tech startups begin to raise venture capital funding. It's going to transform our communities and cities. And that day, I believe, is a lot sooner than you think. And we'll have technology incubators and venture capital firms to thank for it.
Mark Vargas (@MarkAVargas) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is co-founder and president of tech startup Licentiam. From 2007-2010, he served as a civilian within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
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