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Viewpoint: National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the resilience of Hispanic entrepreneurs

Each year from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to recognize the many contributions, diverse cultures and extensive histories of the American Latino community.

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Contributed / Small Business Association
Waldrons Photography
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Each year from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to recognize the many contributions, diverse cultures and extensive histories of the American Latino community. More Hispanics than ever before are seizing the opportunity to create new businesses which improve their cities and neighborhoods. Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, and own and operate more than 350,000 businesses nationwide, employing over 3 million people and counting.

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 over the last 18 months. The COVID 19 pandemic is the leading cause of business failure over the last two years. This is especially true for those businesses owned by communities of color, women and veterans. On his first day in office the president took decisive action, in partnership with Congress, to implement programs and policies that bolstered millions of struggling small businesses, giving them a fighting chance to survive and thrive post-pandemic.

Almost immediately the president signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) which helped millions of main street small businesses with continued financial aid targeting smaller minority-owned firms in underserved communities. Hispanic-owned businesses were some of the most severely hurt by the various lockdowns of communities at the height of the pandemic. The ARP directly invested in our hardest-hit small businesses to ensure they could safely reopen – and remain open. The ARP also bolstered the Paycheck Protection Program with an additional $7.25 billion in funding to support small businesses and nonprofits that were previously excluded, such as businesses owned by women, veterans and minorities. This plan also launched the Restaurant Revitalization Fund which targeted restaurants and other hard-hit food establishments, and the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program.

In November 2021, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law which created enormous opportunities for minority businesses to gain access to over $1.2 trillion in federal, state, and local government contracts on a variety of projects nationwide. A large percentage of Hispanic-owned businesses are in the construction and service industries which will directly benefit from this comprehensive bill. This bill will fortify entrepreneurship, innovation, and domestic supply chains, and in the process strengthen our democracy by creating equitable pathways to the American dream.

Finally, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 makes urgent investments that will bring down costs, level the playing field, and open historic opportunities for America’s 33 million small businesses and innovative startups – especially those businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans. This law not only tackles inflation and powers America’s transition to safer, cleaner energy, it also shrinks the budget deficit and – most importantly – drives down health care and energy costs for small businesses and their employees. Lower costs mean small businesses can focus on doing what they do best: creating jobs, developing talent, innovating, and opening doors of growth and opportunity across all our communities – including selling more American-made goods and services to the world’s largest buyer: the U.S. Government.

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The president’s policies, over the last 18 months, have had a positive effect on Hispanic-owned small businesses. National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to applaud the accomplishments and fortitude of our Hispanic communities and celebrate the American dream of small business ownership. For more information on SBA’s programs and services, please visit www.sba.gov and remember to follow us on Twitter @SBArockymtn.

Aikta Marcoulier is the SBA’s Region 8 Administrator based in Denver. She oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

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