The number of Latino business owners growing


(KTVX/CNN) – A new report says the number of Latino entrepreneurs in the United States has grown significantly and that’s boosting the economy.

Jorge Fierro’s path to business started with a can of beans.

“I went to get some beans at a supermarket, canned beans, and I was actually pretty disgusted by it,” Fierro said.

Jorge, owner of Frida’s Bistro & Rico Foods began selling his own beans at the downtown farmers market and now, 17 years later, his three businesses employ about 85 people and bring in four million dollars a year.

According to a study by the Partnership for a New Economy, the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs in the U.S. has more than tripled to two million, helping to propel the economic recovery.

“For Hispanics, owning a business is more a need than a want, meaning that, sometimes doing business is the only way to move forward,” Salt Lake Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Francisco Sotelo said. “Immigrants really provide a lot of ideas, a lot of things that can really contribute to the economy. We are entrepreneurs by nature.”

Proyecto Latino de Utah Director Tony Yapias has seen a lot of new Latino endeavors in this 33 years living in the beehive state.

“Back in the 1980’s it was just a small group of businesses on the Westside for example, but today we have thousands of businesses along the Wasatch Front,” Yapias said. “We are alive, we are not only creating new businesses, but we’re also contributing taxpayers, and that’s the most important thing.”

Overall, ten percent of the U.S. population are entrepreneurs, but among Hispanic immigrants, its nearly two points higher at 11.7 percent. Fierro says growing up in another country provides the motivation and work ethic to succeed here.

“Immigrants do not have the opportunities that Americans do have,” Fierro said. “In my country for instance, in Mexico, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. We’re survivors; we have to truly create an income because we don’t have anybody to take care of us. So either we work or we don’t eat.”

–Courtesy of KPLC-TV

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