As the Hispanic market plays an increasingly integral role in the overall U.S. economy, San Diego's convenient location across from the Mexican border and large Hispanic population, ranked 10th in the nation, has positively contributed to the city's success. As more and more Hispanic entrepreneurs and Hispanic-focused businesses flock to the city, San Diego's reputation as the U.S. hub for Hispanic commerce has grown conversely.
Latino-owned businesses are increasing at a rate triple that of the national average. According to the 2002 U.S. Census calculations, Hispanics owned about 35,000 business in San Diego County and about 23,000 in next-door Riverside County. Nationally, Hispanics owned about 2.7 million businesses, a figure expected to swell to 4.2 million by 2012.
These numbers alone provide considerable evidence for the significant role Latinos play in the overall U.S. business scene. What has yet to be configured is the vast amount of organizations focused on targeting Hispanic consumers. The combination of Latino-owned and Latino-focused businesses makes up a considerable amount of the whole picture.
In San Diego, technology is the driving force behind the Latino business boom. Internet-based organizations proliferate in both Hispanic consumer and B2B markets as they ease in-market communication, geographic boundary crossing, networking and increase accessibility.
Many San Diego-based Latino companies are finding success in online business strategies. MexGrocer.com is the nation's leading online Hispanic grocer. With more than 70% of American households -- including both Hispanic and general market -- purchasing ethnic food products, MexGrocer.com is well position to benefit from an increase in demand.
Busca Corp. is an online Hispanic entertainment network that provides a family of sites on the cutting edge of technology. Headquartered in La Jolla, Calif., a San Diego suburb, with branches in Tijuana, Baja, Calif., Mexico City, and Santiago, Chile, the company recently signed a deal to become the official video gaming channel for MSN Latino and focuses on the videogame and entertainment enthusiasts markets. The various Busca Corp. sites, including LevelUp, Deporte1, MetaTube, Buscatodo and Tarreo resonate well with the young, media maven, socially active Hispanic community.
The Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce (HISCEC) is another San Diego organization adding to the quality of the area's Latino business scene. HISCEC is an online Hispanic business association focused on promoting Hispanic businesses and the use of its own free software applications. The chamber accumulated more than 750 businesses and professional members in its first year.
To further support Hispanic business and the use of Internet and e-business tools, HISCEC is hosting the 2010 Business and Technology Expo Sept. 10 - 11 at the San Diego Convention Center, where businesses will enhance relationships, research the market for leading products and services and learn about the lasted best business practices.
As these and many other San Diego-based Latino companies continue to flourish, the city has been increasingly recognized as the detour location for Hispanic commerce. This acknowledgement is evident by the increased amount of Hispanic-oriented conferences being held in the area such as the recent National Hispanic Bar Association Mid-Year Conference and the upcoming Latin American Energy Conference, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Conference.
The Hispanic community will become more vital to the business world in years to come. As its role grows, so will the economies of metropolises with established Latino commerce. San Diego will continue to prosper through Hispanic business.