The economic power of Latino-owned businesses in the United States can’t be understated. The 60 million Latinos in the country generate more than $2 trillion in economic activity.
One person who is not surprised is Ana Flores, the founder of the #WeAllGrow Latina Network for influencers and entrepreneurs.
“Latinas have always been entrepreneurial,” she said, “and now we have the tools to make that happen.”
Lack of access
Despite this economic power, Latinas still face obstacles — like a lack of funding access. Only about 1 percent of Latino-owned businesses are funded by venture or angel investors.
“There’s definitely a funding gap,” said Flores, who got started as a self-described “mommy blogger.” “Not only in the business world but also in careers — we are at the bottom of the equal pay gap.”
That lack of access is one reason Flores launched #WeAllGrow.
“We started as a community of bloggers,” she said. “But as Instagram exploded, our content resonated with Latina women. We need to hear each other. Our voices need to be amplified.”
For Latina women seeking to launch a business, Flores advises doing some research.
“Google is your No. 1 best friend,” she said. “Everything from legal advice, tax advice — there are plenty of resources. We Latinas leave a lot of money on the table. There are a lot of grants and a lot of opportunities that we’re not finding.”
Most importantly, Flores advises staying true to your heritage.
“Trust that inner voice that is insisting you move forward with that crazy idea or that career move,” she said. “Because we haven’t had really great role models or success stories around us, or even mentors. Because a lot of the things that we are doing are new, and very unapologetically Latina.”