by ALFREDO ORTIZ
In the United States, more than 99 percent of businesses are small entrepreneurs. Each provides a necessary service for their community while creating jobs for millions of Americans. During the typical year, 2020 not included, roughly 1.5 million jobs are created by small businesses, a sign the American Dream is still alive and well.
According to the 2019 Annual Business Survey (ABS), approximately one million American businesses were minority-owned, with 1.1 million of all businesses being owned by women. Diversity plays an important role on Main Street and is vital for economic growth and prosperity.
Before the pandemic, the economy was humming along, and the unemployment rate for women, minorities, and the disabled was approaching record lows. While the shutdowns and restrictions have placed an undue burden on mom-and-pop shops, the success minority-owned firms have seen in recent years is rewarding.
BY THE NUMBERS
According to USA Today, Latinos are opening more small businesses in the United States than anyone else. Another report from Stanford University reveals Latino-owned businesses grew by 34 percent during the past 10 years, compared to 1% for all other business owners in the U.S. The same study found that $500 billion in annual sales was added to the economy by Latino businesses. What’s even more interesting is 33% of Latino business owners are 45 or younger. This percentage falls to 22% for non-Latino entrepreneurs.
“I think there’s really a positive story when you look at Latino businesses across the country,” said Jerry Porras, Professor Emeritus at Stanford Business School and Co-founder of the Latino Business Action Network. “The number is smaller as a base, but it’s growing very rapidly. Latinos are oriented toward starting businesses and are doing it at a significant rate.”
Asian Americans are also seeing significant business success. According to the 2018 Annual Business Survey, Asian-owned businesses accounted for the largest revenue receipts among minority groups, at $863.3 billion.
Women have also made incredible strides in recent years. Between 2014 and 2019, the number of female-owned businesses increased by 21%, employment climbed by 8%, and revenue rose by 21%. According to a 2018 report, 400 Hispanic women-owned businesses were started each day in the U.S. For Asian American women, similar progress has been made.
But without smart policies, small businesses won’t be able to continue to rebuild and thrive in the months ahead. Unfortunately, some politicians have chosen to continue to punish mom-and-pop shops, as if the pandemic didn’t do enough damage. Rather than implement policies that harm small businesses, the focus should be on incentivizing diversity and encouraging financial success on Main Street. Legislation proposals, including a $15 minimum wage or increased taxes, will only put a pause on the monumental success minority-owned small businesses have seen in recent years.
As the child of immigrants, I witnessed my parents live out the American Dream; seeing the success Hispanics and other minority groups are achieving in the United States is a reminder of how sacred a free-market society is for the success of the economy, small businesses, and achieving the American Dream.
Alfredo Ortiz is the president and CEO of the Job Creators Network.