When Nicolina Delgadillo started her business BeeSmart in 2018, she knew that being an entrepreneur would be difficult. “Being a woman and a Latina is hard work tenfold,” she tells OZY, “Even though it’s an exciting time to be a Latina boss.” Today, Delgadillo is in good company: Latino entrepreneurs are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country.
In today’s Daily Dose, we dive into the rise of Latino-owned businesses by chatting with cutting-edge entrepreneurs who are rocking the metal and highlighting little-known game changers.
– From the report by Isabelle Lee
To take off
1 – Thrive, not just survive
Latino-owned businesses flourished. In the decade leading up to the pandemic, the number of Latino entrepreneurs in America increased by 34%, faster than any other demographic. In fact, if Latino entrepreneurs had not started any small businesses between 2007 and 2012, the number of small businesses in the United States would have in fact declined during this period. Latin American businesses have also seen their revenues grow at a faster rate (25% per year) than white-owned businesses (19% per year) over the past two years. What does it mean? This economic recovery in the United States is based on supporting, funding and improving Latino-owned businesses.
2 – More like the Mendozas, please!
Five years ago, JPMorgan called Latin American companies the the best bet of the economy. Latino entrepreneurs are, on average, younger than their non latino counterparts, with a third under 45 years of age. And yet the challenges they face are considerable, including a multitude of funding problems. Husband and wife team Adrian and Senofer Mendoza recognized this problem and started Mendoza Ventures in 2016. Currently, 75% of the venture capital fund portfolio is made up of companies owned by minorities, women and immigrants.
3 – Diversification of industries
The way forward for small enterprises, especially those belonging to Latinos, according to a Drexel University study, is to diversify into a variety of industries. Latino entrepreneurs are stretch out in construction, finance and insurance, as well as transportation and warehousing, according to a report from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. But growth is happening in all sectors. Just ask 23-year-old Nico Ramirez. The budding entrepreneur has launched a non-fungible token generator called Verilink, which combines physical art with an NFT. Ramirez has faced naysayers in the NFT space, as well as within his community. “A large part of my family, who are immigrants, want me to pursue a more stable full-time job,” he told OZY. “They have had relatively more difficult times in Peru and want me to settle for a less risky business than entrepreneurship.”
4 – Additional challenges
But getting started can mean facing roadblocks. The 2020 Stanford University study found that only 20% Latino-owned businesses have been approved for domestic bank loans over $ 100,000, compared to about half of white-owned businesses. Latino-owned businesses are smaller than their white-owned counterparts, averaging $ 1.2 million and $ 2.3 million in revenue per year, respectively. The owner of the Latina skin care company ARUMI, Sallie Barbery, tells OZY: “Just last week I was in a conversation with other founders and one of the women I was talking to assumed I didn’t have a college degree. Not only that, she basically said I shouldn’t be looking for angel funding or seed funding because I can be happy playing small.
Small business is better
1 – Bonnie glass
Bonnie Glass owns Euphoria Chocolate Company in Eugene, Oregon. The 49-year-old told OZY that when the pandemic hit, sales plummeted. But Glass, who’s latina, found a brilliant solution – virtual chocolate tastings. Customers receive a box of chocolates in the mail, then log into Zoom for a short history lesson on everyone’s favorite treat. “The history of chocolate is really linked to the history and history of Latin America. It was motivated by colonialism, ”she says. “This is a Mesoamerican product and trade. What we value today was created by these people and they are not recognized enough.
2 – Jazz Sanchez
This 25-year-old New Yorker started her first business when she was 9, selling gumballs. During the pandemic, she quit a job as an editor to start a new business –JaziLupini– of his kitchen. Turning to Kickstarter to fund his fledgling wheat-free pasta business, Sanchez raised $ 20,000 in no time. Alternative wheat-free pasta like Sanchez’s are a $ 250 million industry. But Sanchez, who is Afro-Latina, has noticed that health food trends are slower to hit store shelves in his community. “I think the best gift I can give to my community are healthier options,” she says. “Latino business owners contacted me to stock JaziLupini in their stores from places like Miami and Texas to Chile.”
3 – Sallie Barbery
Sallie Barbery, 37, runs what she says was one of the first Latina-focused beauty companies. ARUMI is part of a huge market, research from 2019 showed Latin women were spending $ 2 billion on cosmetics that year, 30% more than other demographic groups. Barbery was appalled at the lack of Latina representation she found in beauty stores. This prompted her to open ARUMI in November 2020, both to reconnect with her legacy and to help others do the same. “I strongly believe that Latinx millennials and Gen Z are looking to reconnect with their culture and this is affecting their buying habits as well. I think people like me are tired of trying to fit in and now want to be more authentic in all spaces, which has led people to really support our business. “
4 – Cecilia Panichelli
Co-owner and founder of Austin, Texas Cocina 54 Empanadas, Cecilia Panichelli, was flabbergasted by the increased interest in her company’s frozen empanadas during the pandemic. Panichelli’s experiment reflects a larger trend: Mintel Food & Drink recently published a study which showed that 60% of frozen food buyers are looking to buy spicy products and expand their horizons. Panichelli told OZY: “Before COVID, we were only processing about five orders per day online. In our first promotion after COVID, we received 60 orders in one day. But interest is not enough, she said. “Now it’s time to have real support, which is funding.”
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Latino game changers
1 – Julio Palmaz
This Argentine scientist invented the intravascular stent in 1984 to treat blood vessels in distress. Palmaz owes a pretty big “thank you” from around 1 million people per year who undergo cardiovascular surgery using the stent. Palmaz moved to the United States in the late 1970s to complete his residency at the University of California, Davis. His idea of inventing the stent design came about after he made a wire mesh stent from a piece of junk he picked up from his garage floor. Today, 75-year-old Palmaz has left the medical device world behind: he now owns a winery in Napa Valley, California.
2 – Luis Von Ahn
Captcha codes aren’t just the subject of some outstanding stand-up comedy by John mulaney. The wavy letters you need to identify to prove you’re not a robot were co-developed by Guatemalan tech wizard Luis von Ahn. Von Ahn moved to the United States at the age of 18 to attend duke university, where he quickly established himself as a brilliant entrepreneur. He sold two companies to Google when he was 20. Today, at 43, he is CEO and founder of Duolingo and consultant professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
3 – Jimmy smit
Yes LA law was your jam in the 1980s, then you probably know the character of Victor Sifuentes. Played by then-31-year-old Jimmy Smits, Sifuentes was the first multidimensional Latin character to appear on American television. Smits stole the show for his passionate portrayal of a lawyer fighting systemic injustices on the series, a performance that saw him Emmy nominees in the five seasons he starred in. Smits, now 66, went on to perform in classics such as NYPD Blue and West wing. But it was as Sifuentes that Smits paved the way for other Latino actors and characters to grace the big screen. Learn more about OZY.
4 – Ramon novarro
In 1925, Ramon Novarro scandalized the audience of the film Ben hur with her little gown. But few spectators knew he was Mexican. Novarro has appeared in films alongside icons such as Greta Garbo, playing characters of all ethnicities since he was white-passer. In the 1931 photo, Mata Hari, Novarro spoke with his native accent. But, when silent films went out of fashion, his career declined because of his heavy accent. Novarro is a longtime icon for challenging Hollywood’s racial issue, even though his career dates back 100 years. Learn more about OZY.
Quote of the day
“At the end of the day, we can take a lot more than we realize. ”
– Frida Kahlo
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