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How American Rescue Plan Act will help minority-owned small businesses recover post-COVID

The American Rescue Plan 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. 

Minority-owned businesses have struggled to get small-business relief loans 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought on great financial difficulties for businesses across the nation. Small businesses were greatly affected, with women- and minority-owned small businesses hit the hardest. 

Photo by Gene Gallin on Unsplash

Since last April, workers of color have faced the highest rates of pandemic-related unemployment. Data shows that Black and Latino people are now facing greater rates of unemployment than during the 2008 Great Recession. Minority-owned small businesses have also faced greater difficulties accessing capital and relief loans. 

The Paycheck Protection Program, which launched in March 2020, has now become the largest small-business support program in U.S. history, sending $734 billion in forgivable loans to struggling companies. It has helped nearly 7 million businesses stay afloat, but it has also been plagued by complex, ever-changing rules that have hindered many businesses from getting much needed relief loans. 

Many of the businesses affected by the changing rules and confusion have been minority-owned businesses. From language barriers to unfair biases, minority business owners have struggled to gain access to capital and bank loans from major banks. Many have since turned to their communities and smaller, local banks to find relief, but new changes to the program under President Biden are now pushing to funnel more money toward women- and minority-led businesses. 

You might be interested: PPP Loan forgiveness: $50,000 loans for small business and self-employed

Changes to PPP and SBA loans under the American Rescue Plan 

New Funding and Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill includes $7.25 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and changes eligibility for the PPP, including:

  • Expanding eligibility for 501(c) nonprofits. It also makes local offices of larger nonprofits eligible for PPP assistance as long as those locations are not larger than 500 employees for first PPP loans or 300 employees for second PPP loans, expanding access to vital relief for nonprofit organizations that are critical to local services and the economy.
  • 1st PPP Draw loan deadline: on or before 31 May 2021 (businesses must have been in business from 15 Feb 2020)

PPP loans have:

  • A fixed interest rate of 1% that is non-compounding and non-adjustable
  • No requirement for collateral or personal guarantees
  • No fees or prepayment penalties
  • A 5 year maturity

New Programs per the American Rescue Plan Act

Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance Payment: 

  • A $5 Billion fund for $5k payments to those hardest hit

Restaurant Revitalization Fund & Grants – Coming soon

  • A $28.6 billion fund for grants to eligible entities in this hard-hit industry
  • Max $5 million grant/location and aggregate max $10mil grant

lack of access to capital

How to Apply 

If you have a small business and would like to apply for any of these SBA programs, visit www.sba.gov to learn more about COVID-19 Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources. Under SBA’s Coronavirus Relief Options page, you can learn about how to apply for a variety of programs including: 

  1. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 
  2. Economic Interruption Disaster Loan (EIDL) 
  3. SBA Express Bridge Loans 
  4. SBA Debt Relief for 7(a), 504, & Microloans 
  5. Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program

Steps to finding a lender:

Need more help? Check out our other PPP resources

Damaris Diaz

Damaris Diaz shares pandemic stories and how COVID has impacted the Latino community

In our most recent National Conversation with Latina Leaders event, Latina Small Business Post-Covid Recovery: Resources and Trends, correspondent and TV personality, Damaris Diaz joined the conversation in a fireside chat with Latinas in Business Inc. President and CEO, Susana G Baumann.

Damaris Diaz

The free event sponsored by Prudential took place virtually on March 19 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST streaming on Zoom and Facebook Live, featuring two panels of Guest Speakers, including Damaris, and with Keynotes Speaker Stacie de Armas.

Don’t miss our next event! Meet&Greet: SOCIAL MEDIA HACKS AND TRICKS

During the fireside chat, Damaris shared stories of her own experience in the pandemic as well as the stories of others she has encountered throughout her work as a journalist and TV correspondent.

Born in La Vega, Dominican Republic, Damaris moved to the U.S. with her family as a young child, residing first in New York, before settling down in New Jersey as an adult. A Seton Hall graduate, Damaris focused her studies on communications and criminal justice. Now, as a journalist, correspondent, and TV personality, Damaris has had the opportunity to interview countless people and share their stories with larger audiences.

Born in La Vega, Dominican Republic, Damaris moved to the U.S. with her family as a young child, residing first in New York, before settling down in New Jersey as an adult. A Seton Hall graduate, Damaris focused her studies on communications and criminal justice. Now, as a journalist, correspondent, and TV personality, Damaris has had the opportunity to interview countless people and share their stories with larger audiences. 

Some key topics Damaris spoke about were the impact the pandemic has had mentally on the Latino community, essential workers, business owners, and families who have suffered unexpected losses, including her own family. 

Biggest lessons learned during the pandemic 

Susana G Baumann 4:23

I would like to ask you, you know, what, what lessons have we learned from the pandemic? You know, this unexpected devastation? I know you have been covering a lot of personal stories of family, emotional and financial distress.

Damaris Diaz 4:54

That’s right, Susana. It’s been you know, it’s been a whirlwind…So many of us have been affected on so many levels. I have friends who say to me, ‘Oh, wow, you know, I haven’t gotten COVID. And my family’s all okay.’ And I’m like, wow, God bless you, you know that that’s not my story. My story early on, my cousin’s parents both fell ill in the hospital. Here in a local hospital in New Jersey, just two days apart. Ambulance came for the mom, ambulance came to the dad, the next day, within a week…And you know, nobody was prepared for that nobody was prepared for a loss in the middle of a pandemic, where you can’t even congregate with your family and be there for them and hold their hand and be a part of their pain.

And, you know, we all know the same way we’re born, eventually, someday we’re going to die. But to kind of have to face this in the middle of a crisis where we don’t even know like: Is there a cure? Well, you know, what’s the medication? What’s going to happen with our families? And then you start seeing the stories…on a daily basis of young people, people in their 20s, children of all age,  and so we are living with this fear, not knowing ‘At what point am I going to get it? And how is my system going to react to it?’

I think that the lessons we learned, one of the biggest lessons learned here is: you’ve got to be prepared. How do you prepare for this kind of thing? You know, we kind of go through life on a day to day thinking, ‘Okay, I need to prepare for today. What’s my, what’s my assignment for today, I’m going to call and get a permanent release. And I’m going to get my cameraman lined up, and I’m going to get my editor ready, and we’re going to do this.’ We’re preparing for the now, for the now. But there’s, you know, tomorrow and the day after that, and the week after that and the month after that, and there’s so many things that we don’t think about, but this pandemic has put it in our faces, you know, hit us on the forehead, like, ‘Hey, wake up, wake up! Are you ready? Are you ready for this?’ Nobody was ready for this. And we’re like reinventing the wheel every day as we go along, trying to figure out our lives in the middle of this health crisis that’s just not here in the U.S., but it’s in the entire world.

Susana G Baumann 7:54

Correct. Yes. One thing that you mentioned was really, very, very powerful on the inability to be there for your losses, for the people who are passing. I know personally, friends who lost their parents. And like you said, they were not able to even say the goodbyes…rituals are important in any society, and this pandemic put us totally on hold for those very traditional rituals that help us cope with the losses. 

Two sides of the pandemic: from despair to hope 

Damaris then shared various stories of individuals in the pandemic, from the hardships of being an essential healthcare worker to how a small business owner found hope and success helping others. 

Damaris Diaz 8:41

One of the first stories that I covered that really hit hard for me and for so many viewers was a nurse in New York City. She works as a nurse, and so you know, a lot of our first responders were the first ones to get COVID because they had to work there without masks without, you know, the gloves without all the safety precautions because the hospitals weren’t prepared. And so she got COVID, she had to isolate herself, her kids were sent somewhere else. Her mom would leave her food, along with other relatives, at her doorstep. And she’s thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, what’s going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to my mom, if she gets it? What’s gonna happen to my children? When can I see them?’ So when she finally got clear to go back to work, she drives across –she lives in Jersey– she drives across the George Washington Bridge, and she said, it was like this magnetic pool, just trying to pull her back to New Jersey, like ‘Go home, don’t do this. And she said, you know, she kept thinking, I have a duty I have to do this. So she said, ‘Oh, God just helped me get past the bridge. Once I get past the bridge, maybe when I get to the parking facility, maybe I’ll have the courage to go.’ 

So she’d park in her car and cry. She’d walk to the hospital and she’d still feel that magnetic pool saying to her, don’t do this go home and just be with your family because the world as we know it has changed and you know, and our lives could end tomorrow. And that’s when she heard the applause. Her shift started when the applause began every night around 7pm. And she says those applause were the ones that got her through, got her through those doors, got her to, you know, to her posts and helping people day after day. But she said she cried, every single day  she drove to work. And you know, now it’s almost a year later, and she’s still working as a nurse, and she probably still feels conflicted. But she’s got a duty, you know. 

I think that when I got into journalism, I thought, I just want to tell happy stories. There’s so many things that are happening in the world that are going to make us sad, that are going to make us feel crushed, I want to tell happy stories. And I’ve been very fortunate to travel the world, to interview celebrities, and movie sets, sports figures, artists, on red carpets, I’ve had the blessing and the luck to do that. But you know, the reality is, that that’s not everything. We suffer through sadness, we suffer through loss, we suffer through pain. And there are a lot of stories out there to be told, you know, of very strong women that have a voice and deserve for their stories to be told. 

So for me, that was such an honor to be able to tell her story, even though it broke my heart. And even though my voice is cracking, as I was interviewing her, you know, as a Latina, you’re, you’re raised to be strong, like, don’t shed a tear. And if you shed a tear, don’t let anyone see you. And so you know, it’s like, wow, this, this pandemic has taken a couple layers off of me, off of the way I’ve allowed the world to see me.

Susana G Baumann 11:31

This has been tremendously challenging for all families, and especially for women. So what are the good stories? Because also, the pandemic has brought, you know, some fantastic ways that he has transformed our lives for good. What do you think they are? 

Damaris Diaz 12:39

Oh, wow, telling good stories is something that I could do with my eyes closed, because it just makes me feel good. And I know that that’s the effect that we have on people when we tell these stories. 

So recently, I interviewed a– una Dominicana de Nueva York, who started her own business before the pandemic. She learned how to make these beautiful, like balloon arrangements. And she said, ‘You know what, we need to celebrate everything, you know, it’s not just a birthday, or Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate everything, let’s make people happy.’ So she learned how to make these balloons, she started to make them and deliver them and she said, ‘I was bringing joy to people. And then the pandemic happened. And it was like we weren’t allowed to be happy. Because everything has to be canceled, celebrations were canceled. We couldn’t even have a barbecue and get together with our family.’  So she started to do these courses online to help people to learn how to make them and she’d send them all the links, ‘You need to buy the supplies. And these are the cheapest ones. And I’m going to give you a whole how-to, right here right now virtually.’

And she said it’s so important to continue to celebrate our children, especially. Kids that are now being homeschooled, that, you know, who knows how their futures are going to look with this experience. This is a traumatic experience for so many children, you know, forget the fact that ‘Oh, you can’t hang out with my friends and I can’t do my extracurricular activities.’ But a lot of them had to see their grandparents die, you know, their loss of their parents, loss of the other relatives, loss of friends. And so you know, their lives are being formed right now. And this woman said, ‘It’s so important to celebrate them. So I wanted to teach parents how to make these beautiful balloon arrangements.’ And so her business went from starting out to nothing to online to now helping other people.

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

There are so many beautiful stories to be told. Yesterday, the Despierta America live, we were at a vaccination center in the Yankee Stadium. It’s open 24 seven, right? So you would think the line would wrap around the entire block considering we’ve been anxiously waiting for this vaccine. But what’s happening? Our Latinos, our African American brothers and sisters are having so much trouble having access to the vaccine. First of all, you go online, and it sends you from one thing to the other to the other, and you can’t figure it out and you think you have an appointment, just to be evaluated to see if you can get the vaccine. And you never even had an appointment for that. 

covid-19 vaccine

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

And there’s this woman in Pennsylvania, her name is Bibi, and online, she started to help people have access to the vaccine. So if you if I called her and said, ‘Listen, girl, I can’t figure this out. My mom needs a vaccine. I know I’m not a priority right now. But she is,’ she will go online, help walk you through the steps, and the next phone call or email you get from her is: Hey, your appointment for your vaccination is on Tuesday, April, whatever. And she’s doing this in her free time. This is an entrepreneur, her little business is suffering. She’s a mother of two, she’s homeschooling her two daughters, she’s got her husband, she’s got to take care of her family and her life. And she’s taking all of her free time to help people that need this service. 

Preparing for the unexpected with Prudential

Lastly, Susana and Damaris discussed the importance of life insurance, especially in such an uncertain time such as now. Culturally, many older Latinos still live by old norms, expecting their children will be around to take care of them in their old age. But this pandemic has opened our eyes to show us that tomorrow is not guaranteed and one never knows when a crisis or health emergency might strike which is why families need to plan now and have these conversations now to be ready for whatever may come in the future. One of the ways to prepare is through life insurance. Prudential 

Susana G Baumann 17:01

So what makes you believe that a company like Prudential can lessen these effects of the devastation of Latino families, especially, you know, those that worry about their finances, and don’t know if they’re gonna make it to the end of the pandemic?

Damaris Diaz 19:01

Well, Prudential, first of all, speaks our language. So whether you’re bilingual or not, Prudential speaks our language. So they’re there to help us and they are experts in this field. I mean, they’ve been around since 1875, before you and I were ever on this planet, and it’s the largest insurance carrier in the United States. So they are the go to place….They understand our community, our values and they know what matters. Like you said, culturally, as we get older, we’re thinking our kids are going to take care of us, right? My mom still has that hope. She still has that hope that my sister, my brother, and I are going to care for her in her older years, because that’s what she was taught. And that’s what my grandparents believed. My grandfather was taken care of by all of his children, seven children, and all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren, until the day he passed about a year and a half ago. We were by his bedside. And before that he, you know, in hospice, every single day, my aunt was there taking care of him, 24/7. 

That’s a full time job and not a full time job, like a 40 hour, you know, full time gig that we would have. Twenty-four seven. And so you know, what we need to plan financially for those situations. 

And those are conversations that we don’t want to have, especially, as a younger person, it’s like, I’m not gonna think about that I have my whole life ahead of me. Really? Something could happen to me tomorrow, and I could be bed bound, God forbid, you know? Tomorrow is now. Like, we have to plan now. And so that’s when a company like Prudential steps in. Prudential understands that  we have different stories. It’s not a one size fits all situation. And so when you speak to one of the experts at Prudential they come knowing what our struggles are.They understand that we speak a different language. It’s not just that hablamos español, we speak a whole different cultural language.

You know, 52% of Latinos do not have an emergency savings.” (Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash)

When my father passed, he was 61 years old, and he passed after a heart attack, years ago, that was like the eye opener for me. I would have never thought about life insurance until that happened. But I remember growing up and hearing them talking about that, and I used to think these people are crazy. They’re planning their death, like they’re buying life insurance….But you know, that’s just the ignorance in a person like myself at that age where I didn’t want to think about tomorrow.

We have to think about tomorrow, we need to have emergency savings, and not just for a month or two months. As hard as that may seem….You know, 52% of Latinos do not have an emergency savings. And that’s proven. And so many people are worried, like ‘how are we going to do this?’ 

It’s not too late. Yes, we’re in a pandemic. Yes, a lot of people have lost their jobs. Yes, we’re in a huge economic crisis, but it’s not too late. Prudential believes that one of the best ways to feel empowered and supported is to learn, educate ourselves, on our finances, have these conversations as hard as they may seem. 

Susana G Baumann 25:00

Thank you so much for your time. We know that’s a challenge for us, for Latinos, for small businesses and uh, but we need to learn to talk about money. We need to talk about money with our children, with our families, with our parents and to plan for the future. 

For more information and resources from Prudential, visit www.Prudential.com/tuSumas

shopping small business

Small Business Saturday a day to support your local Latino small businesses

Despite the disadvantages Latino small businesses face, they have outstripped small business growth’s national rates. However, they encounter barriers that other small business owners and entrepreneurs might find easy to overcome. Frequently, financial education and language barriers drag down Latino small businesses compared to other demographics. Still, “when there’s a will there’s a way,” and nobody believes this truth more than a Latino small business owner.

shopping small business

Despite the disadvantages Hispanic businesses face, they have outstripped small business growth’s national rates. However, they encounter barriers that other small business owners and entrepreneurs might find easy to overcome. Those barriers are related to low levels of education and literacy, especially in the financial literacy arena, lack of English language skills, and difficulties in navigating the financial system in the United States.

When I arrived in this country in 1990, I realized that this society was based on the power of literacy and the written language, a great disadvantage for a number of immigrants who come from countries where literacy is a luxury, or from areas where large indigenous populations speak native languages, many of which do not have a written format. They come from societies based on verbal or oral communication and solidarity networks. It is still a common practice for small businesses to keep their finances in a pen and paper fashion.

Participants at 2016 Internet Marketing Week SBDCNJ - Rutgerts School of Business NJ

Several business courses are offered through SBDC around the country. Here: Sunny Kancherla, Director, NJSBDC E-Business Division at Participants at 2016 Internet Marketing Week SBDCNJ – Rutgers School of Business NJ

Americans are used to a highly functional literate society based on written communication in almost every aspect of their lives: school, media, business, banking, you name it. The rise and imperative use of technology leave many behind. Digital dexterity and knowledge are mandatory in any business environment wanting to compete in the real world.

Most foreign degrees are usually assessed by independent evaluators or academic institutions without certain equivalence. For instance, a six-year professional degree in an area of expertise, common in many Latin American universities, might be compared to an undergraduate degree in the United States.

Professional and entrepreneurial immigrants might have some advantages over their counterpart immigrant workers but only if they master the English language. Even so, they encounter difficulties in starting a new business until they get some degree of acculturation and understanding of the system’s mechanisms.

Being there, doing that

Carlos Quintana, a California community organizer that leads an organization called “Manos Unidos” –yes, this is not a typo- says he works with people from Mexico, Argentina, Peru and other countries who often are wary of applying for a grant, joining a chamber of commerce or volunteering for a city advisory commission because they have experience with corrupt agencies in their native countries.

Many, Quintana says, have the drive to start businesses but don’t understand the rules about taxes, accounting, and payroll. Also, he mentions the digital divide; Latinos are not using computers, which are a primary source of information. His organization, like many others throughout the country, can help them figure out planning and licensing requirements and can connect them with Spanish-speaking accountants and tax preparers.

However, the language divide is still a concern for many Latino business owners who would like to grow their businesses and find out about opportunities in state, federal or the private sector. The tricky part is to find a program designed for learning enough specific English business vocabulary to get by at a reasonable cost.  Specialized packages can go from $1500 and up, just to start. Some universities do offer continuing education short programs such as University of South Florida or Columbia University summer courses. However, these classes are too expensive and more suitable for corporate employees or international business students.

Latino small businesses

CHELSEA, MA – JULY 23: Adult education students listen at Centro Latino in Chelsea, a suburb where the Latino population has boomed. (Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Additional barriers in financial literacy and best practices

A report from the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which includes Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, 26 counties in northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, states that although they have seen an impressive growth in their Latino small businesses –among the six states in the Ninth Federal Reserve District, Minnesota had the highest percentage increase in revenues for Hispanic businesses, at 248 percent for the period 2002–2007–, they still lag behind national levels.

“The low average for gross receipts may be partly due to the average size of Hispanic-owned businesses. Many of them are microenterprises, or establishments with zero to just a few paid employees. But there are other factors besides size that keep Hispanic-owned businesses from reaching their potential.” Among others, the report mentioned causes such as having a fear of government and established institutions, a limited understanding of American business processes, and encountering a lack of culturally friendly or linguistically appropriate services at local institutions.

Likewise, they have detected “difficulties understanding and communicating with the state and city structures necessary for opening a business. Examples include the need for a federal and state tax ID, registration forms, and property taxes. Also, many Latino entrepreneurs have limited experience with effective business sustainability practices. Limited knowledge in fields like accounting, commercial bank accounts and credit history poses a major roadblock for businesses that would otherwise be of great contribution to Minnesota’s general economy.”

Unfortunately, I have not found many options other than maybe small initiatives at local community level dealing with these barriers, and I would love to hear from more of them. Latinos are very entrepreneurial; the wealth and employment potential they can bring to their communities should not be underestimated. Moreover, they should be taken as an unbeaten role model to be successful against all odds.

shopping small business

Small Business Saturday: Against the odds, Latino small businesses thrive

Financial education and language barriers drag down Latino small businesses compared to other demographics. Still, “when there’s a will there’s a way,” and nobody believes this truth more than a Latino small business owner.

shopping small business

Despite the disadvantages Hispanic businesses face, they have outstripped small business growth’s national rates. However, they encounter barriers that other small business owners and entrepreneurs might find easy to overcome. Those barriers are related to low levels of education and literacy, especially in the financial literacy arena, lack of English language skills, and difficulties in navigating the financial system in the United States.

When I arrived in this country in 1990, I realized that this society was based on the power of literacy and the written language, a great disadvantage for a number of immigrants who come from countries where literacy is a luxury, or from areas where large indigenous populations speak native languages, many of which do not have a written format. They come from societies based on verbal or oral communication and solidarity networks. It is still a common practice for small businesses to keep their finances in a pen and paper fashion.

Participants at 2016 Internet Marketing Week SBDCNJ - Rutgerts School of Business NJ

Several business courses are offered through SBDC around the country. Here: Sunny Kancherla, Director, NJSBDC E-Business Division at Participants at 2016 Internet Marketing Week SBDCNJ – Rutgers School of Business NJ

Americans are used to a highly functional literate society based on written communication in almost every aspect of their lives: school, media, business, banking, you name it. The rise and imperative use of technology leave many behind. Digital dexterity and knowledge are mandatory in any business environment wanting to compete in the real world.

Most foreign degrees are usually assessed by independent evaluators or academic institutions without certain equivalence. For instance, a six-year professional degree in an area of expertise, common in many Latin American universities, might be compared to an undergraduate degree in the United States.

Professional and entrepreneurial immigrants might have some advantages over their counterpart immigrant workers but only if they master the English language. Even so, they encounter difficulties in starting a new business until they get some degree of acculturation and understanding of the system’s mechanisms.

Being there, doing that

Carlos Quintana, a California community organizer that leads an organization called “Manos Unidos” –yes, this is not a typo- says he works with people from Mexico, Argentina, Peru and other countries who often are wary of applying for a grant, joining a chamber of commerce or volunteering for a city advisory commission because they have experience with corrupt agencies in their native countries.

Many, Quintana says, have the drive to start businesses but don’t understand the rules about taxes, accounting, and payroll. Also, he mentions the digital divide; Latinos are not using computers, which are a primary source of information. His organization, like many others throughout the country, can help them figure out planning and licensing requirements and can connect them with Spanish-speaking accountants and tax preparers.

However, the language divide is still a concern for many Latino business owners who would like to grow their businesses and find out about opportunities in state, federal or the private sector. The tricky part is to find a program designed for learning enough specific English business vocabulary to get by at a reasonable cost.  Specialized packages can go from $1500 and up, just to start. Some universities do offer continuing education short programs such as University of South Florida or Columbia University summer courses. However, these classes are too expensive and more suitable for corporate employees or international business students.

Latino small businesses

CHELSEA, MA – JULY 23: Adult education students listen at Centro Latino in Chelsea, a suburb where the Latino population has boomed. (Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Additional barriers in financial literacy and best practices

A report from the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which includes Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, 26 counties in northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, states that although they have seen an impressive growth in their Latino small businesses –among the six states in the Ninth Federal Reserve District, Minnesota had the highest percentage increase in revenues for Hispanic businesses, at 248 percent for the period 2002–2007–, they still lag behind national levels.

“The low average for gross receipts may be partly due to the average size of Hispanic-owned businesses. Many of them are microenterprises, or establishments with zero to just a few paid employees. But there are other factors besides size that keep Hispanic-owned businesses from reaching their potential.” Among others, the report mentioned causes such as having a fear of government and established institutions, a limited understanding of American business processes, and encountering a lack of culturally friendly or linguistically appropriate services at local institutions.

Likewise, they have detected “difficulties understanding and communicating with the state and city structures necessary for opening a business. Examples include the need for a federal and state tax ID, registration forms, and property taxes. Also, many Latino entrepreneurs have limited experience with effective business sustainability practices. Limited knowledge in fields like accounting, commercial bank accounts and credit history poses a major roadblock for businesses that would otherwise be of great contribution to Minnesota’s general economy.”

Unfortunately, I have not found many options other than maybe small initiatives at local community level dealing with these barriers, and I would love to hear from more of them. Latinos are very entrepreneurial; the wealth and employment potential they can bring to their communities should not be underestimated. Moreover, they should be taken as an unbeaten role model to be successful against all odds.