Tapping into Latinas’ potential could unlock $393 billion in economic value in the U.S. 

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). 

Source: 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report

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

Latinas Equal Pay Day, gender wage gap

Latinas are among the most adversely affected by the gender pay gap. They are paid just 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. (Source:

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. 

Photo by Armand Valendez from Pexels

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.”

Giannella Alvarez, Latina board member

Driscoll’s new Latina board member, Giannella Alvarez (Photo: Business Wire)

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.” 

Graciela Monteagudo, Latina board member

Driscoll’s new Latina board member, Graciela Monteagudo (Photo: Business Wire)

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. 

You might be interested: Stacie de Armas on breaking stereotypes and advocating for Latinas

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. 

Latina Buying food at the supermarket

Is your company a “gringo”? Secrets of successful marketing to Latinos

Is your company a “gringo” when it comes to marketing to Latinos? Only companies that make a long-term, integrated commitment to marketing to Latinos “get it.”

And you better get it and soon, because a 2012 Nielsen report states that, “Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic segment expected to grow 167 percent from 2010 to 2050, compared to 42 percent for the total population.”  And it continues to say that Latinos “will be the dominant and in many cases the only driver of domestic CPG sales growth.”

Latina shopping at a small business marketing to Latinos

According to the Urban Dictionary, “gringo” is a “non-derogatory term used to refer to US citizens. Folklore says it was generated when the USA invaded Mexico, wearing green uniforms, and the people shouted at them ‘Green Go Home’.”

In my experience, “gringo” is referred to someone who is an outsider of Latino culture or someone who does not “get it.” When preparing the article, the idea of “getting it” came to mind. Marketing to Latinos and other diverse populations is an art; companies either “get it” or don’t, and mainstream advertising agencies sometimes are not of great help on this matter.

Before stepping into these waters, companies need to understand the cultural challenges and obstacles they face when reaching out to the Latino community, especially if their products or services are not known by this market, are not traditionally used or requested by Latinos, or they have a large competitor established within this market for longer time. A well-known example is Inca Coca, a very well-established Peruvian soft drink that can hardly be beaten by the competition within that community.

Research, research, research. Then plan and execute.

portrait of young businesswoman at airport

As business owners, we all think our products and services are the best thing since sliced bread but customers might have a different idea. They might be used to other type of products or brand names, are unfamiliar with the use of our products and their benefits, or these products might be technically difficult to use, assemble, carry or incorporate into their lifestyle. An example is Latinos preference for mobile devices over laptop or desktop computers.

Marketers know that with enough money and dedication, almost any product can be “sold.” However, that is exactly what companies are not willing to try when faced to Latinos or other diverse populations showing challenging cultural characteristics and lifestyles.

Getting to know your Latino audience is your number one priority so you need to evaluate in advance and with certainty if the expected gain –targets, ROIs and the like–is worth your willingness to invest the money, the time and the effort for the long haul. So far, experience has demonstrated that Latinos are loyal customers so well-thought and planned, researched campaigns should get you to their hearts –and pockets.

We all have witnessed or been part of the “pilot” programs, “several-months-multiple-locations” campaigns being pulled out of the market because the product did not move as fast as expected. Too many times, large companies launch multicultural marketing campaigns without really understanding the implications of changing a product’s perception in the customer’s mind, and the need for continuously targeting the market until these changes take place. They apply expectations and benchmarks that work on the general market –but not resources–into a multicultural campaign. Yes, they “don’t get it,” both the concept and the market.

Once your company is aware of the internal and external resources needed, and the target market particulars, you need to position your products, services and brand name among your potential customers.

Marketing to Latinos, more than selling products

Afro Latina on mobile phone marketing to Latinos

Your Latino customers not only would like to know about your products and services but also what your company stands for, and what you have done or planning to do to create credibility in their community.

Frequency and consistency are two major factors in successful advertising campaigns to Latinos so they know you are there to stay. Targeting Latinos also includes aiming at their influencers, people they trust for advice and recommendation.

Media diversification is instrumental in making your multicultural campaign a success. For instance, advertisers relied for years on radio and TV ads when targeting Hispanics, knowing their preferences –Spanish channels experienced the largest growth among all major TV stations for several years. But now the power of social media in the Latino community cannot be ignored. In addition, they can access any publication and local or international website by means of their mobile devices.

If you are building your campaign around holidays and events, it is not enough to drop a couple of ads here and there for Hispanic Heritage Month, or Christmas jingles in Spanish. A culturally driven campaign will work around holidays and events that are meaningful to the community you target: it might be Cinco de Mayo for Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles –although this Holiday is seen as a “gringo” Holiday by many Latinos– but it might be the Puerto Rican parade in New York City. Just dropping a Spanish translation of your Super Bowl campaign won’t work either.

Finally, your company needs to be aware that Latinos expect a “holistic experience.” If you translate your website into Spanish, make it a mirror of your English one. Your translations and images need to be impeccable and culturally attuned to the target market. If you ask them to click for “español,” better have someone culturally trained speaking the language on the other side of the receiver.

Their buying experience must be satisfactory and so needs to be their customer service support. Otherwise, in their minds, your company will just continue to be a “gringo.”