Did you know that right now Latinas hold the power to unlock $393 billion in economic value in the U.S. and reboot the post-pandemic economy? In fact, some may even say Latina business owners and entrepreneurs have a ‘midas touch.’
The untapped economic value of Latinas in the workplace
According to an article published by Forbes, Latinas have this ‘midas touch’ that could potentially deliver $393 bullion in incremental value to the U.S. economy. Additionally, the most recent State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business found that much of the growth among new businesses in recent years has been driven by Latinas. The data from the report revealed that Latinas currently represent 40% of all Latino business owners and the number of Latina-led employer firms has grown 20% within the last five-year period.
In the same article published by Forbes it was reported that in 2019 alone, Latina entrepreneurs owned 2.3 million businesses and generated $119 billion in revenue. However, despite the tremendous economic power of Latinas, the average size of Latina-owned businesses is much lower than that of others, averaging only $50,900 in annual revenue. Latina businesses have also been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic as data from the Stanford report shows. According to the report, 41% of Latinas have reported experiencing “large negative impacts” due to the pandemic and nearly twice as many Latina-owned businesses experienced pandemic-related closures (30%) compared to Latino- and White Male- owned businesses (16% and 18% respectively).
Latinas also suffer from unfair gender biases in the workplace, especially in the area of wages. The gender wage gap for Latinas is 55 cents per every dollar earned by a White, non-Hispanic man. Furthermore, a 2016 briefing paper from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that if current gender wage gap trends continue without any action, it will take over two centuries for the gender wage gap to close for Latinas.
But this does not have to be the narrative for Latinas. Latinas are strong, powerful, and capable business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, and leaders. If given the opportunities to generate the same level of revenue as white-women-owned businesses, Latina-owned businesses would generate an additional $393 billion in annual revenue–a big boost for Latinas and the U.S. economy as a whole.
Closing the gap and supporting the Latina market
To reach this potential and truly unlock the economic value of Latinas, more companies, corporations, and legislative bodies need to take a chance on Latinas. We need to see more Latinas in corporate-level positions. More Latinas in leadership. More funding for Latina-owned businesses.
This past year we have already seen some step up to the plate. Earlier in January, the tech giant Apple appointed the first Latina ever to their Board of Directors. Monica Lozano, president and CEO of College Futures Foundation, was appointed as the eighth board member, bringing with her a broad range of leadership experience, as well as a long track record as a champion for equity, opportunity, and representation.
“Monica has been a true leader and trailblazer in business, media, and an ever-widening circle of philanthropic efforts to realize a more equitable future — in our schools and in the lives of all people,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Her values and breadth of experience will help Apple continue to grow, to innovate, and to be a force for good in the lives of our teams, customers, and communities.”
Even more recently, the major berry company, Driscoll’s, appointed Latinas Giannella Alvarez and Graciela Monteagudo to their board. Both women were praised for their cultural and international knowledge, citing these skills as great assets for the company’s dealings in the global market.
Speaking on Ginannella’s appointment, J. Miles Reiter, Driscoll’s Chairman and CEO said, “Giannella is a highly creative and decisive leader who has a proven track record of talent building and energizing organizations across countries, customers and channels. Her significant on-the-ground international experiences will serve as an invaluable asset as Driscoll’s continues to grow and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace.”
On Graciela, Reiter shared, “Graciela’s expertise in addressing the Mexican consumer and retail environment will be invaluable to Driscoll’s as we navigate increasing consumer demand in this important growth market. Her experience in consumer brands, especially in the health and nutrition sector, will bolster Driscoll’s capability and success in markets around the globe.”
In the small business sector, GrubHub has been working to support women-led restaurants. Four years ago the company launched RestaurantHER, a platform that connects women-led restaurants and empowers them to bridge the wage gap among women in the restaurant industry. And this year they are expanding and focusing an eye on supporting Latina-led restaurants, Forbes reported.
Lastly, on the government level, supporting Latina business owners and entrepreneurs through funding and legislation is crucial to unlocking the economic value of Latinas. Appointing Latinas to government leadership roles is also incredibly important. This past year we have already seen great improvements such as with the appointment of Latina Isabella Casillas Guzman as SBA Administrator and various government programs dedicated to supporting minority-owned businesses.
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President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act is pivoting to funnel more aid and relief toward minority-owned small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. The Act will help small businesses recover post-COVID by providing critical assistance to businesses across the country and delivering $50 billion in aid and relief.
In New Jersey, the Murphy Administration is working to provide greater opportunities for minority, women, and veteran owned businesses through various key initiatives. These initiatives include a disparity study–the first in 20 years–to identify ways in which the State can contract Minority, Women, and Veteran-Owned Businesses (MWVOB) to provide goods and services.
“This disparity study is not only long overdue, it is an integral part of our vision for a stronger, fairer, and more resilient, post-COVID economy that opens doors for diverse businesses to play a greater role in shaping our state’s future,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This study will provide us with an opportunity to create a more equitable business environment, which is a win for us all.”
Other NJ organizations, such as New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and NJ FAM are also providing resources and access to capital for Black and Latina business owners through the development of various funds and programs.
In a recent Instagram Live, NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan and digitalundivided CEO Lauren Maillian, spotlighted the recently-proposed Black and Latino Seed Fund, which the NJEDA intends to create to drive capital to Black- and Latino-owned enterprises.
A recording of the entire chat can be viewed below.
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With many big name companies and government initiatives taking a chance on Latinas, the future is looking promising. Numbers show that Latinas are an industrious, innovative group, taking the lead in recent years as the fastest growing demographic of small business owners.
It’s clear that the economic power of Latinas has been overlooked for too long. From small businesses to corporate, Latinas hold tremendous power and abilities. Wherever a Latina goes, she brings with her a special touch, her unique perspective, and a whole lot of passion and drive. And the untapped economic value of Latinas is just what the U.S. economy needs to reboot and recover post-pandemic. The time to take a chance on Latinas is now, and it is long overdue.