Hispanic Population Leading Entrepreneurial Charge

25rarHispanic Heritage Month, which begins September 15, allows us all to reflect on the accomplishments of notable Latino leaders and recognize how the Hispanic population is making an impact on the U.S., from culture and arts, to business and sports. After all, the Hispanic population is continuing to grow, and with that growth comes influence.

The Pew Research Center reports that as of 2011, Arizona was home to about 1.95 million Hispanics, accounting for about 30 percent of the state’s population. And, when it comes to entrepreneurship, Hispanics are outpacing other ethnicities.

According to research conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy and the Latino Door Collaborative, Hispanic immigrants are more likely to be entrepreneurs than the average U.S. citizen. In fact, between 1990 and 2012, Hispanic owned businesses have skyrocketed from 321,000 to 1.4 million.

During the Great Recession, Hispanic entrepreneurships increased by 71.5 percent. And even as the overall rate of entrepreneurship has dropped, Hispanics have maintained a higher rate than the general U.S. population at 11 percent, compared to 10.2 percent.

Understanding those numbers, it should come as no surprise that the Hispanic population has a high rate of workforce participation. The Libre Initiative, a Hispanic advocacy organization, reports that about 75 percent of Hispanic men are members of the workforce, which outpaces other ethnicities.

Without a doubt, the Hispanic population is making waves as owners, employees and general consumers. In Arizona and beyond, the business community is taking notice of this important growing market segment.

The credit union industry is no exception. In fact, there is even an industry designation, which is given to credit unions that have demonstrated a commitment to serving the Hispanic segment through culturally relevant interaction, as well as offering a choice of language preference.

The designation is called Juntos Avanzamos. On Sept. 22, Vantage West Credit Union will be the first credit union in Arizona to raise a flag that symbolizes its newly awarded Juntos Avanzamos designation.

This designation serves as a point of pride for Vantage West Credit Union and also reinforces the importance of embracing the rich Hispanic culture in Arizona.

Rene Almazan is a senior vice president for Vantage West Credit Union a $1.5 billion financial institution in Arizona, offering consumer and business banking services, and is federally insured by NCUA. www.vantagewest.org