LatinaLista — One stereotype of Latinos that actually evokes pride among la gente is that Latinos are hard workers. In most every family, there is someone, if not several, who fulfills that definition. Also, in many Latino families the hard work ethic doesn’t just apply to working for a jefe but working for themselves too in their own businesses.
According to the most recent U.S. Census data, there were 2.3 million businesses owned by Latinos in 2007, generating over $350 billion in revenue. A new study on Hispanic entrepreneurship by TD Bank uncovered some very unique characteristics of Hispanic business owners that underscore the reasons behind such a strong work ethic.
The TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank® small business survey found that Latino entrepreneurs tend to start their businesses at a much younger age, 35-years-old, than business owners of other ethnicities and races who, on average, start at 39-years of age.
In addition, 83 percent of Latino entrepreneurs started their businesses from scratch, as opposed to 6 percent who took over a family business. Of those who started their own businesses, 70 percent had left a job in the workforce, 10 percent owned another small business and 12 percent had either attended college or served in the military.
The survey also found that Hispanic owners do not take their management education or advice lightly. Fifty-five percent of small business owners have a college or post-graduate degree, and Hispanic business owners are eager to continue learning, with 43 percent of Hispanic owners revealing they have taken a course or seminar to learn more about managing their small business. Similarly, Hispanic small business owners value professional assistance, with 31 percent using a dedicated banker or financial planner.
While the survey reflected the overall self-sufficiency most Latino entrepreneurs feel towards their businesses — Seventy-five percent of Hispanic small business owners said they are most confident in managing employees/human resources, which is higher than the general market (71 percent) — there is one area where Latinos draw on their traditional source of support.
When it comes to needing outside help and expertise, Latino business owners surveyed say the first people they contact is — family. Fifty-four percent contact family and friends first when they need additional help; 37 percent surf the web for the answers to their problems and 35 percent will turn to industry association and networking groups.
One last characteristic of Hispanic entrepreneurs that underscore the importance of family is that Latino entrepreneurs were more inclined (21%) than other business owners (15%) to pass the business on to their families or a co-worker and few had plans to close it down after they retired.
Yet, as everyone knows, retirement has never been in a Latino worker’s vocabulary.