March 1, 2017
By: Irma Aguirre
When presidential candidate Donald Trump visited my restaurant last October, he asked me and other local business leaders to tell him about the obstacles we faced and what he could do about them if he became president. Trump’s empathy for us, as business owners, was clear and genuine. Plus, he spoke our language – the language of business.
“This guy gets us,” I remember thinking. I felt that way, again, when I was one of a group of small-business owners who met with President Trump at the White House on Jan. 30th.
Trump’s straightforward style and appreciation of business is a breath of fresh air to entrepreneurs like me. I’ve been so weary of, and so discouraged by, politicians and their empty talking points. Former President Barack Obama was an almost-daily insult for eight years, telling us the economy was doing great while business owners struggled keep their doors open.
Access to capital became a cruel joke after the financial crisis and the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, which added one more strike against those of us already toiling to meet payroll, pay taxes, comply with regulatory burdens and pay skyrocketing premiums and deductibles for health coverage.
For small-business owners, the election of someone who understands us and wants to fix our problems is providing a tremendous – and a desperately needed – shot of confidence. Our natural state of optimism is returning. Now that Trump is president, we feel that we will be part of making America great again, and we can’t wait to do the hard work to make that happen.
This feeling of optimism is essential for economic growth, and it is felt regardless of a business owner’s age, gender or race. President Trump’s words and actions impacting business make me feel good about the future of my business, period; not my “Latina-owned” or “woman-owned” business.
The wave of economic optimism in the Hispanic business community can unleash unmatched potential. Latinos are exceptionally entrepreneurial, with Hispanic-owned businesses growing at 15 times the national growth rate. We are 1.5 times more likely than the general population to become entrepreneurs, and Latinas, specifically, are the fastest growing demographic in the small-business sector.
This is important because America desperately needs more entrepreneurs. The small-business sector is traditionally responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s net new jobs, but it has been in an overall state of decline since 2008.
It is clear that President Trump does not live in a hyphenated world, but a world characterized by potential. To him, I am a business owner – not a “Hispanic-American” business owner. In me and other entrepreneurs, he sees potential. In the talented Americans who could be business owners some day, he sees untapped potential. He wants that potential to be fulfilled.
I’ve been inspired by Trump’s optimism and desire to tap into the potential of every American business and individual. That’s why, on March 9th, I will join The Latino Coalition in welcoming small-business owners from across the country to a conference reflecting President Trump’s vision – The Latino Coalition’s “Making Small Business Great Again” policy summit.
We will spend a day with leaders from the Trump administration and Congress, discussing all the ways to unleash the stifled, untapped potential of our country’s neglected entrepreneur class.
As a business owner, as a woman, and as a Latina, I know that the communities I represent are in need of the two ingredients essential for economic success – optimism and opportunity. Our president is offering optimism, and his policies will increase our opportunities by reducing our challenges – excessive regulation, expensive healthcare and complicated, costly taxes.
We can provide the potential, which I know is tremendous and large enough to make America great again.
Irma Aguirre is the owner of El Sombrero Mexican Bistro in Las Vegas, Nevada. She served on the Small Business Advisory Council for the Trump for President campaign and is currently The Latino Coalition’s national advocate for small business and women’s issues.