Every year the President of the United States, through the official declaration of Hispanic Heritage Month, encourages all Americans to take one month to acknowledge and celebrate the significant contributions Hispanic Americans have made and continue to make to our country.

This officially-recognized month also provides Hispanic Americans in particular with several opportunities: To reflect on our patriotism, to look forward, to lean forward, and to ask ourselves, “What will the next generation achieve?”

An historical foundation

Hispanic Americans are certainly not a new group—especially here in California. But while we have reached the pinnacle of success in many fields, notably in business, government, entertainment and sports, Latinos still have lower levels of education, job skills and income when compared to the average non-Latino Californian.

"Second-generation Mexican Americans are achieving higher levels of education, increased earnings, occupy more white-collar jobs and have greater rates of home ownership than their immigrant parents."

Thankfully, the trend lines in this area paint a picture of hope and upward mobility. For example, recent research shows that second-generation Mexican Americans (in California and Texas) are achieving higher levels of education, increased earnings, occupy more white-collar jobs and have greater rates of home ownership than their immigrant parents. And fewer are in poverty compared to previous generations.

Looking back

My own life story is consistent with these findings: My father emigrated here from Mexico in the 1950s with the equivalent of a high school education, and my four sisters and I all went on to graduate from college.

Like so many other American families from all kinds of backgrounds, the key to my family’s upward mobility was business ownership, a course that is still unparalleled in its ability raise the income level and quality of life for all Americans.

When I was younger, I didn’t understand why my sister and I had to work in the family restaurant; our other friends didn’t have to work as hard. My father explained to us that the whole family had to work for us to survive. In the beginning, that was true. But my father also knew that in America there were no limits. Indeed, the hard work eventually led to success for my parents, good schools for me and my sisters, and a rewarding way of life for all of us: entrepreneurship.

Money mentors

Not all young Latinos have this kind of exposure to entrepreneurs, but they can have access to it by networking and joining supportive groups.

For 20 years, The Latino Coalition’s purpose has been to shine a spotlight on successful business owners, share networking opportunities with all types of business people (particularly those interested in tapping into the $1 trillion Hispanic consumer market!) and provide current and aspiring business owners with the tools and inspiration they need to succeed.

We hope all Latinos and Latinas who hope to own or already own a business will join and work with us to ensure the next generation of Latinos will achieve the American Dream of business ownership. A better future for the next generation, after all, is all of our business.