Expanding The Power of U.S. Latinos

Ex-SBA chief Hector Barreto: Small Business Saturday – say thanks to friends, family who are entrepreneurs

11/30/2019 9:17 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

It is easy to forget that independently held businesses make up half of our economy and create most of America’s new jobs

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A lot of what I love about Small Business Saturday has nothing to do with shopping – even though “shopping small” is a terrific, and important, thing to do.

More than the retail boost, I deeply appreciate the national reminder about who small-business owners are, and about the incredible importance of the small-business sector.

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Perhaps because we call them “small,” it is easy to forget that independently held businesses makeup half of our economy and create most of America’s new jobs. Main Street also creates economic stability and resiliency in a way that Wall Street never has, and never will.

When I picture entrepreneurs, I see my parents – both Mexican-American, both tireless and selfless. My father started businesses; my mother ran them. My family didn’t realize it at the time, but the economic and cultural future of our community would be built by women like my mother – Latinas today are more likely to start and run a business than any other demographic group.

It is well worth pausing on Small Business Saturday, to think about, and appreciate, the people of the small-business community. Entrepreneurs are exceptional people. They have an uncommon appetite for risk. They are energized by hard work, and they are hard-wired to be creative problem solvers.

Best of all, their unique characteristics have a ripple effect on their communities: Small-business owners literally make the world a better place by creating and providing jobs, essential goods and services and meaningful contributions to local philanthropy (who buys uniforms for the little league team, collects winter coats for the homeless, pays for lights for the basketball court at the local park? Small-business owners!).

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When I picture entrepreneurs, I see my parents – both Mexican-American, both tireless and selfless. My father started businesses; my mother ran them. My family didn’t realize it at the time, but the economic and cultural future of our community would be built by women like my mother – Latinas today are more likely to start and run a business than any other demographic group.

I am often asked what makes Latinas such an entrepreneurial powerhouse. I can tell these people don’t know many Latinas! To know Hispanic women leaders is to know a life force that commands awe and respect. No one works harder, thinks faster or gives more.

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If Small Business Saturday conjures an image for you of a sweet retail shop in the center of a small town, I can understand why. The small shops of American Main Streets are iconic and important. But to me, the day evokes an image of my mother, of my friends CiCi, and Irma and Jeannette – women who have run restaurants, import and export businesses, staffing firms, marketing and tech businesses. Each started with nothing more than their natural leadership position within their families. It didn’t happen overnight, but each of these Latinas are now leaders in their communities and beyond, each sought-after for advice, insight and business deals.

To me, Latina business owners are iconic. I’ve always known that if you want something done, ask a busy Latina – they are already running their household, their families, and their businesses -- but their capacity to do more and help others is boundless. If current trends continue, an image of a busy, entrepreneurial Latina will someday replace the classic image of a cute Main Street shop with an old-fashioned striped awning.

I believe Small Business Saturday should be treated as an extension of Thanksgiving itself – an opportunity to express gratitude our friends, neighbors and family members who are entrepreneurs. Their work, their sacrifice, and their incredible appetite to take risks, makes America stronger. To celebrate this day, I’ll patronize a local shop or two, but I’ll also call the Latina business owners in my life to thank them for being fearless, creative, economic giants.

There’s nothing small about them, and I’m grateful for that!

Hector Barreto is the chairman of The Latino Coalition and the former U.S. Small Business Administrator.

Source: FoxBusiness

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