Celebrating the Hispanic Business Community and Its Legacy in Phoenix

by Christine Abdullah

Celebrating the richness and diversity of the Hispanic-Latino community and recognizing our collective path forward to drive social and economic progress is not confined to National Hispanic Heritage Month – especially when it comes to the outlook of Hispanic-owned small businesses nationwide. This year in particular, we recognize the resilience of small business owners impacted by a global health crisis who continue to serve our Phoenix community.

The past year was challenging: 99% of Hispanic entrepreneurs say the pandemic created added stress around running their business, according to our recently released 2021 Hispanic Business Owner Spotlight. The need for dependable employees during these stressful times is not lost on Hispanic-Latino business owners – 84% say they have changed, or plan to change, their approach to employee wellness and benefits as a result of the pandemic, as many believe their ability to attract and retain quality employees directly impacts their business success.

Despite these challenges, the Hispanic-Latino business outlook is strong. Eighty-one percent of Hispanic-Latino business owners expect their revenue to increase over the next year, compared to 59% of non-Hispanic-Latino business owners, and economic optimism and hiring plans show sharp increases since last fall. In fact, the Latino community is expanding as a whole. According to a study by the Center for Economic Research & Forecasting at California Lutheran University, which evaluated the gross domestic product of the Latinos in the U.S., Arizona’s Hispanic-Latino GDP was $91.9 billion in 2018, larger than the entire economic output of the state of New Hampshire.

Hispanic business owners supported their community even when facing challenges. Community values are strong amongst Hispanic business owners, as our survey showed that many say they’ve felt an increase in family and community support over the past 12 months, and 60% have volunteered to help their local communities recover and thrive.

In Phoenix where the Hispanic-Latino population makes up 43% of our broader community and is an integral part of our business community, there is no doubt Hispanic-Latino business owners contribute to the success of our local economy.

At Bank of America, we serve 12 million Hispanic-Latino clients, one million of whom are also business owners working to make a lasting positive impact on their communities. By providing digital Spanish-language resources, hiring bilingual client-facing teams and investing in research like our annual Hispanic Business Owner Spotlight to better understand the unique experiences of these entrepreneurs, we are uniquely positioned to help our Hispanic clients and community continue to succeed.

We also invest in local programs and partners, such as Be A Leader Foundation, Chicanos Por La Causa, Friendly House and Valle del Sol, all addressing a myriad of underlying issues facing Hispanic-Latino individuals, families, and businesses. To help Hispanic-Latino and other underrepresented entrepreneurs have greater access to capital, Bank of America has provided $350 million in capital to minority-focused funds like Vamos Ventures and L’Attitude Ventures, which then invest growth capital into minority-led businesses.

Supporting Hispanic-Latino businesses not only helps nurture the rich diversity of our community, but more importantly, it helps strengthen our local economy as these businesses continue to grow, creating job opportunities and business owners give back to our community.

Ensuring long-term success for Hispanic entrepreneurs in Phoenix continues to be a priority for Bank of America today and beyond.

Christine Abdullah is aSmall Business Consultant Manager at Bank of America

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