Celebrating the achievements of Hispanic-owned small businesses

Hispanic and Latino American small business owners have made immense contributions that to our economy
Mike Vlacich

Mike Vlacich

The contributions Hispanic business owners have made to entrepreneurship in the U.S. are indispensable. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 350,000 Hispanic-owned employer businesses across the U.S with an estimated $463.3 billion in annual receipts, 2.9 million employees and about $108.4 billion in annual payroll. In New England, there are more than 96,000 Hispanic-owned small businesses.

Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 2022, is a time to applaud the remarkable achievements and immense contributions that Hispanic and Latino American small business owners have made to our nation’s economy.

Two businesses I recently visited illustrated what makes observing National Hispanic Heritage Month so critical. Both businesses utilized SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, a nine-year program created to help entrepreneurs gain access to—and succeed in—the federal marketplace.

Arrow Security & Training LLC graduated from the 8(a) program in May and provides training for those who protect us domestically and abroad. I had the opportunity to meet with Joe Lopez, to discuss his experience in the program and strategy going forward as a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). There’s so much opportunity.

CMGC Building Corp is located in Manchester and is owned by Frank Swanson. The firm graduated from the 8(a) program in January 2022 and was able to grow considerably as a federal contractor increasing project size and scope with the help of the program.

Visiting with businesses like these is crucial so we can see how SBA’s efforts are helping our local business community, but also learn more about our gaps and where we can improve our programs and work with our local partners to help these businesses succeed.

Both President Biden and SBA Administrator Isabella Castilla Guzman – the highest-ranking Latina in the President’s cabinet – have made strengthening our Hispanic-owned small businesses a priority. The COVID-19 pandemic was especially challenging for America’s small businesses. That is particularly true for minority-owned businesses that face unique challenges even in the best of times. The SBA recognizes that Hispanic and other minority entrepreneurs face socioeconomic and capital funding obstacles when starting and expanding a business. It is the SBA’s role to help individuals overcome these inherent challenges and succeed.

The SBA has been at the forefront of America’s pandemic recovery effort. Record numbers of new business applications, especially among women and minorities along with record levels of federal contract business for our small companies are just some of the successes to build on these past few years. I’m proud be a part of this agency that has been equitably delivering economic relief to small businesses along Main Streets – from the mom-and-pop restaurants and retail shops to the contractors and small manufacturers.

The SBA has made a lot of progress getting Americans back to business, but there is more to do. We continue to make equity a priority as we help expand the reach of the customers we serve.

The SBA is committed to promoting and empowering the continued advancement of businesses like Arrow Security & Training and CMGC Building Corp. As Hispanic and Latino small business ownership continues to expand at a remarkable pace, SBA is here to help during Hispanic Heritage Month and every day.

Mike Vlacich New England regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Categories: Opinion