RC Blog: September 2023
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Empowering Communities Through Entrepreneurship
As we commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, I am filled with immense pride and gratitude for the journey that has brought me here. As a Hispanic businesswoman who found success despite enormous odds stacked against me, I can look back and see that my journey has been a testament to the power of entrepreneurship, community support, and the positive impact of Hispanics on our economy and society. So to celebrate Hispanic Heritage this month, I'd like to shed light on some of the incredible contributions that the Hispanic population is making, particularly in business creation and community development.
As recently shared in my new book LostGirl, when my story began I was well on my way to becoming just another sad statistic for the Latino community. I was a high school dropout teenage mother on welfare with a very troubled family life, but after turning my life around I embarked on a path that led me to work for one of the most powerful women in Texas, Ann Richards, then joining the George W. Bush legacy in Texas and later serving the President in the White House, and eventually joining the tremendous fabric and growth in the US by becoming a Hispanic business entrepreneur. My company AvantGarde LLC today employs more than 125 people across nine different states including our Great State of Texas where I reside! My story is just one of many within the Hispanic community, where entrepreneurship has thrived. Hispanic-owned businesses have grown at an astounding rate, reflecting the ambition and determination that defines us. They generate over $700 billion in revenue annually, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and this number continues to rise. On top of that, Hispanic-owned franchise businesses generate 1.6 times more sales and employ 1.5 times more people per location than their independent counterparts, according to the International Franchise Association.
Hispanic entrepreneurs, like myself, are not just creating businesses; we are building bridges to success for others as well. I often connect with fellow Hispanic entrepreneurs and together we are a force to be reckoned with, contributing to the economic growth of our cities and nation. But it's not just about business for me. Hispanic business owners create intergenerational wealth and improve communities, so it's also about using our success to uplift and empower our communities. Philanthropy and community engagement have been integral parts of my journey. I have been fortunate enough to witness firsthand and contribute to the transformative power of community support programs. Our nonprofit LaunchPad, for example, offers mentorship and scholarships to at-risk youth who often come from Hispanic backgrounds. Initiatives such as these, led by Hispanic business owners and directly impacting our community, provide crucial resources, education, and mentorship to our youth and aspiring entrepreneurs.
As Hispanic Heritage Month unfolds, I am reminded of the incredible strides we have made collectively. The Hispanic community is a source of innovation, entrepreneurship, and resilience. Our businesses are not just about profit; they are about building legacies and providing opportunities for others. We understand the importance of giving back to our communities, creating a virtuous cycle of growth and prosperity. And as I reflect on my own journey, I am inspired by the countless stories of Hispanics who are making a difference in the lives of others.
Let us continue to celebrate our heritage, our culture, and our contributions to this great nation. By championing small business creation and supporting the Latino community, we can ensure that the positive impact we make today echoes through generations, creating a brighter future for all. This Hispanic Heritage Month, let us embrace our role as catalysts for change, driven by the spirit of entrepreneurship and community empowerment.