funding opportunities to survive
“Latinos and other ethnic minorities face employment discrimination”, especially in executive positions. However, Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans are “extremely entrepreneurial and hard-working” populations. Hispanic businesses “are started at three times the national average” and Hispanic women start businesses at “six times the normal” rate. Prior to the pandemic, “the percentage of Latinos in the labor force was 68%, while the Anglo labor force participation was 63%.”
These are the words of Ramiro Cavazos, president, and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in an exclusive interview with SOL DE MEDIANOCHE. In the interview, which we reproduce in full below, Cavazos stresses that we must follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and get vaccinated to reintegrate into the new post-pandemic economy as soon as possible, and that Alaska and Anchorage are “critical markets” for the success of the economies of the other 49 states.
The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the largest Hispanic business organization in the United States, with 4.7 million Hispanic owned business members in the country. For World Trade Day on May 25, it has scheduled the informative webinar “Business Beyond Borders,” in collaboration with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
What measures are necessary to overcome the Covid19 crisis, especially in states like Alaska?
We must continue to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, while reintegrating into the new post-pandemic economy that will require rebuilding our level of normalcy in how we transact business with one another in a hybrid, in-person, and virtual platform to conduct business. We must also continue to encourage our communities to get vaccinated as soon as possible – the faster we do, the faster we get back to normal.
Which of them are especially important for small and medium-sized businesses, and local businesses?
Though all measures are important to recover from the pandemic, the most important measures that small and medium-sized local businesses can take is to access capital for their business health through COVID-19 economic relief like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Our Hispanic-owned businesses need to maximize their funding opportunities in order to come back stronger as we power our nation’s economic recovery. In addition, our businesses must continue to have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for their employees and customers as we begin to reopen our economy.
Do you believe that Hispanics and other ethnic minorities suffer discrimination from employment?
Yes, it is factually proven that Latinos and other ethnic minorities suffer from employment discrimination, especially when it comes to executive or corporate level positions. As an example, the number of Latino and Latina CEOs of Fortune 1000 firms is a lot less by percentage than the 18% of the population of Latinos in the country. The spelling and utilizing a Spanish first name or surname have been proven to affect even job application opportunities.
Are Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans naturally entrepreneurial populations?
By all means, these three populations are extremely entrepreneurial and hardworking in the midst of considerable obstacles that present themselves to job start up, job expansion, or access to a historical advantage by inheriting a business, compared to other non-minority populations in the U.S. that have been provided advantages not seen by Hispanics, African Americans, or Native Americans. In fact, Hispanic businesses start at 3 times the rate of the national average, and Hispanic women start businesses at 6 times the normal rate. From 2007 to 2012, 86% of new small businesses in the United States were U.S. Latino-owned businesses (CNBC). Pre-pandemic, the percentage of Latinos in the workforce was 68%; whereas Anglo workforce participation was at 63% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
What types of businesses have the most potential and opportunities for development in today’s Covid times?
All businesses have great potential and opportunities to succeed in today’s new COVID environment; however, a business that is not using the internet, technology, and the digital platforms is a business that will quickly run out of business. Competition and survival in this new economy post-COVID will require tremendous adjustment and creativity to succeed. The new mantra will be to meet our new customers wherever they are, and we must correspond to those needs in order to meet the needs of our U.S. economy. In fact, 70% of our national economy is driven by consumer spending.
How important are Alaska and Anchorage to the Chamber’s activities?
Alaska and Anchorage are very important to the Chamber’s activities because it is a big energy and tourism economy. While not a state with a large Latino population when compared to other states, Alaska and Anchorage are critical markets and integral to the success of the economies of our other 49 states. The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is very interested in that all 50 states in America are valued equally in their economic impact to improve the prosperity and the quality of life of Hispanics and all Americans throughout this country. In addition, while Alaska’s contributions to our national economy are important, equally important is Alaska’s commitment to reaching out to our Latina and Latino entrepreneurs in the rest of the country and providing opportunities to start businesses in Anchorage and across the state – a win-win for Latinos, Alaskans, and our national economy as a whole.