Latino Voices

‘I Really Want to Represent My People’: Latino Entrepreneurs Opening Businesses Twice as Much as General Population


‘I Really Want to Represent My People’: Latino Entrepreneurs Opening Businesses Twice as Much as General Population

Latinos have long-embraced the entrepreneurial spirit — as paleteros, landscapers and business owners, to name a few.

In fact, Latinos are starting businesses at over twice the rate of the general U.S. population.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

That's according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data.

But getting there as a first-time business owner comes with its own set of challenges.

One of those difficulties is often funding the operation. Eric Roldan, the chef and owner of Marina’s Bistro and Rum Bar, said he was no stranger to that.

“I got turned down many, many, many times trying to get capital,” he said. “But I found somebody that believed in me, believed my vision and what my brand was all about. That's how I got the break.”

Learning to navigate business ownership also came with many surprises. For Vanessa Arroyo, a fashion designer and the owner of Seres Footwear, becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t the original plan.

“I didn't think I was going to be an entrepreneur at all,” she said. “I like to develop product and design product, and I had to learn these things, and that's okay because I know that I have a vision for the brand. We are produced in Mexico and for me, that was really important. I really want to represent my people.”

So infusing their businesses with their Latino heritage plays a dominant role in their ventures. Jose Lopez is the co-founder and owner of Casa Humilde Cerveceria. He said this is what inspired them to start a business.

“Myself and my brothers, we were into craft beer, but we didn't see ourselves, our Mexican culture, Latino culture in too many brands,” he said. “So we were like, ‘We drink it a lot. Why not create something that kind of represents our culture, our ingredients, of what we grew up with?’”

Despite the challenges, Arroyo, Roldan and Lopez all agreed that the journey for them, and many others, takes perseverance.


Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors