The Best Resources for Latino/a and Hispanic Entrepreneurs
| Holland Webb
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People of color represent a young and fast-growing trend in American entrepreneurship, according to the results from the 2021 Small Business Trends survey. Members of racial minority groups own about one million businesses, totaling 18.3% of U.S. enterprises. Hispanic-owned businesses represent 24% of all minority-owned businesses.
The terms "Latino, Latina, and Latinx" typically refer to people of Latin American origin or descent. The term "Hispanic" usually applies to a person who speaks Spanish as their first language.
Latino/a-owned businesses bring in an estimated $455.6 million and employ about three million people.
Latino/Latina entrepreneurs trend considerably younger than the average American who is starting a business. They can also be less trusting of lending agencies, more likely to apply to family or friends for seed money, and very likely to run a cash-based operation.
Latino/a-owned businesses bring in an estimated $455.6 million and employ about three million people. Nevertheless, these business owners have identified several barriers to success — primarily a lack of capital and problems with employee recruitment and retention.
Consequently, we developed the following list of resources for Latino/a and Hispanic entrepreneurs. Prospective business school students can also find financial aid resources for aspiring latino/a entrepreneurs.
Founded by a group of Latino/a venture capitalists, LatinxVC aims to grow Latinx venture capital investors and increase funding flow in this community. Its member funds include Cowboy Ventures, Menlo Ventures, First Republic, and NEA.
As a group, LatinxVC seeks to achieve three goals: increase Latinx representation in venture capital, increase access to capital for Latinx fund managers, and build a strong Latinx venture ecosystem and drive a positive narrative.
Existing investors can apply to be members of the LatinxVC community. Professionals interested in working at venture capital firms can subscribe to LatinxVC's email newsletter of VC job opportunities. Firms in search of talent may send notices to the organization for publication in the newsletter.
LatinxVC also offers an eight-week program to help candidates develop their network and learn the tools they need to break into the venture capital industry. Early career professionals interested in a VC role take a weekly course supported by two mentors. Participants also engage in hands-on learning opportunities that help them identify great companies, build their skill sets, and stand out as applicants.
The organization maintains a robust social media presence on Twitter.
Aspen Capital Fund
Aspen Capital Fund connects investors with transformative startups. With support from Aspen, entrepreneurs learn to develop and maintain investor relationships during the capital raise life cycle through marketing automation.
Since Hispanic people demonstrate the highest entrepreneurship rate among minority groups, Aspen takes particular interest in new entrepreneurs seeking Hispanic startup capital. As a Latino/a-owned business, the fund aims to foster the growth of businesses planning to access Hispanic investment.
During the program, participants discover how to build key relationships, create automation, and develop efficiencies that result in an investor funnel. Aspen's program includes actionable, mentor-supported education and advice on building an investor funnel or platform. Participants can launch campaigns within 14 days and get meetings with high-net-worth individuals or investment groups in 30 days.
Although headquartered in Denver and supported by the Global Chamber in Denver, Aspen Capital Fund serves clients from around the country. Applicants to Aspen's programs do not have to be Latino/a or Hispanic to participate.
Latino Economic Development Center
The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) empowers members of the Latino/a community and other underserved groups to build long-term financial security. The nonprofit organization's programs primarily focus on small business development, homeownership counseling, and tenant organizing in the D.C. metro area.
LEDC was formed in 1991 from the vision of bankers, business professionals, and civil rights leaders who wanted to see low-income Latino/a communities gain access to social and economic advancement opportunities in the U.S.
LEDC's programs focus on one of three areas — housing, small business, or direct community investments.
Entrepreneurs can get advice on building credit or accessing capital through loans ranging from $500 to $250,000. In the housing sector, applicants can receive assistance with buying their first home, avoiding foreclosure, organizing a tenant's association, or training tenant leaders. Qualifying businesses in Montgomery County, Maryland, can apply for rental assistance grants through LEDCD's Small Business Rental Assistance Program.
The organization drives innovation and cultivates development through partnerships in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Puerto Rico. LEDC receives support from public agencies, private foundations, and partners in the field.
Billing itself as "The Latino Gateway to Silicon Valley," Manos Accelerator offers a hands-on, mentorship-driven business education to help fast-track Latino/a leaders on the path to success. The company's mission is to impact more than one million entrepreneurs around the world.
Startup teams that participate in the program achieve certain milestones, culminating in a demo day where they present their products to entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and angel investors.
Participants can join a one-week scale-up program in Silicon Valley, an online course for students and early-stage entrepreneurs, or a three-month virtual accelerator with mentorship. The accelerator maintains a network of 150 mentors and investors.
To apply, prospective participants need to submit an online application for the next cohort. Once enrolled, participants get access to Amazon Web Service, Silicon Valley Bank, Google Cloud Startup, and Cloudways.
Since the organization launched in 2013, more than 75 companies have participated in the on-site program. Manos Accelerator has received acclaim in Forbes, TechCrunch, Silicon Valley Business Journal, and other publications. Its partners include eBay, Facebook, Amazon, and Salesforce.
An Atlanta-based venture capital firm, Vertical 404, backs Black, Latino/a, and female founders working in cloud-based technology. The organization invests in strong founders and companies, helping to educate emerging entrepreneurs.
Vertical 404 primarily invests between $150,000 and $450,000 of pre-seed growth funding into companies that meet its qualifications. The organization works in four areas of interest — media, finance, health, and the future of work.
To qualify for funding consideration, companies must be located in the U.S., hold C-Corp status, and have launched their product. Additionally, prospective funding recipients need to agree to Vertical 404's diversity hiring commitment and have a Black, Latino/a, or a female CEO.
The company also hosts educational opportunities, including a national 10-week program to position startups to scale their companies through growth hacking methods. Participants can join a tech bootcamp or workshop in data analytics, machine learning, UI/UX design, software engineering, or search engine marketing.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council
The National Minority Supplier Development Council(NMSCD) certifies minority business owners and connects them to corporations of all sizes in many industries.
NMSCD's primary resource is its MBE certification, which provides recognition that a business claiming minority ownership is minority-owned. This certification allows business owners to approach corporate suppliers and distributors looking to partner with minority business enterprises.
To get certified, businesses need to submit an application and supporting documentation before receiving a site visit from an NMSDC Certification Specialist. This process can take up to 90 days.
Once certified, MBEs can take advantage of several educational resources and participate in the organization's advocacy activities. For instance, NMSCD created the "In This Together" initiative, which seeks to help minority entrepreneurs overcome the dual barriers of systemic racism and the fallout from COVID-19. Several major companies have backed the "In This Together" initiative, including Kellogg's, Motorola, and the AARP.
The NMSCD also offers summits, newsletters, town halls, meetings, and seminars. In addition to its headquarters in New York, this organization maintains 23 regional affiliate councils across the country along with 1,450 corporate members.
Laila Abdalla obtained her Ph.D. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses in English and successful writing at Central Washington University for over 21 years. Abdalla has devoted her teaching and leadership to matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Above all, she is committed to her students' complete experience, raising awareness of BIPOC issues in language, community, and culture. Abdalla leads with equity in management and nonprofit volunteering, and continues to develop her own understandings of these complex issues both professionally and in her lived experiences.
Laila Abdalla is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.
Feature Image: Ariel Skelley / DigitalVision / Getty Images
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