Achievements of Hispanic Business Women

Happy Businesswoman on downtown street

Latina women in business a celebration of the creativity of female business owners

Fearlessness and knowing when to ask for help can aid women in building a business. 5 simple rules can help women capitalize on their strengths to successfully lead businesses. 

Small business is the cornerstone of the American identity, and, while the overall trend for Hispanic business owners has been difficult with the current economic situation, the number of women small business owners has grown consistently. It is this creative spirit that we celebrate.

Women-Owned Businesses Are More Nimble, Creative

According to the Director for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, Bill Joubert, small businesses owned by women tend to be better suited to the current economic climate:

  • Startup growth for women-owned businesses is 40-45 percent faster than for male-owned businesses.
  • Women tend to invest less than men in their startups.
  • Women take out an average of $20,000 to $50,000 in loans to start a business, whereas men tend to require on average closer to $1 million.

This is something Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs, both men and women, should take into account. In this economy, capital is very tight. It is more difficult to get a large loan from a bank, and those who are passionate about starting their own company need to be able to make a little stretch a long way. Women are leading the way in this new paradigm.

Why Are Women So Successful?

Here are some important facts to keep in mind when thinking about the success of women in U.S. small business:

  • It has not even been 100 years since women in the United States received the right to vote.
  • It has been even shorter since the massive cultural shift in the 1960s, 70s and 80s that saw women take charge of their professional lives.
  • Women now employ 40 percent more people than the top three U.S. employers: McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and IBM.
  • Women-owned businesses employ 7.7 million people.
  • Between 1997 and 2007, women-owned companies grew at a rate of 44 percent, which was twice the rate of male-owned companies.
  • Nearly 30 percent of all businesses are owned by women.
  • Just 25 years ago, only 10 percent of businesses were owned by women, and 25 years before that, the number was negligible.

The business model of women-owned businesses tends to be focused on networking and outreach rather than massive capital investment. The numbers suggest this, with male-owned businesses typically bringing in more money in revenue.

Hedy Ratner started the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago 25 years ago. The center specializes in providing small loans of less than $20,000 to female owners of small businesses. She has suggested that the only reason male-owned small businesses bring in more revenue than female small businesses is the venture capitalists who traditionally fund business development are primarily male.

Columbus, Ohio, entrepreneur Mary McCarthy agrees. To combat these trends that make women-owned small business a challenge, she started the Women’s Small Business Accelerator to offer cheap office space, utilities and mentoring programs to help women get a leg up. She said men “tend to get more support” when they want to start and focus on their business.

With capital funds drying up and investors nervous about opening their wallets to new ideas, it is the savvy businesswoman who knows how to carve out a place in her community for her product or service to thrive.

Latinas and Small Business

In particular, Hispanic business women should be inspired by these numbers and trends. It is not often talked about, but if venture capitalist investors are less likely to provide million-dollar investments in start-up businesses to women is true, it is doubly true for Latinas.

Women in the Hispanic community who dream of starting a business and making it for themselves must skillfully budget time, money and growth to ensure their companies sustain themselves and thrive. Networking and communications skills are a must in our information economy, and making and maintaining connections can be far more important to the success of a business than getting big loans.

Time to Shine

While the road may be difficult for women business owners, they have shown through the years that they can succeed at what has been traditionally a man’s game. While it may appear from some metrics such as revenue growth and capital investment numbers that women still have the lower hand, the economy suggests that women’s time to shine has only just begun.

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