Over the last 18 years that I have lived here in the United States, I have talked to many Latinos and Latinas about their dreams and their journeys to pursue these dreams. I learned about their aspirations and the barriers that stood in their way.
There are 55 million Latinos living here, and we believe deeply in the American dream. Our parents and grandparents came to this country in pursuit of it and we have followed in their footsteps.
We left our countries and our families to seek a better life for ourselves and for the same families we left. We arrived with big dreams and a willingness to work as hard as humanly possible. We have started new families in this land, we have adopted many things from this culture, and we have adapted to the American way of life. But we keep and cherish our culture.
Our mindset is more American than before but our heart remains Latino.
In fact, according to research, we are more optimistic than non-Latinos as it relates to our belief in being able to achieve our dreams. And these dreams of ours are different than non-Latinos.
Again and again, I heard that their dream revolves around securing a better future for your families, building their entrepreneurial business, and controlling their own destiny. But always at the core of the American dream of Latinos was the future of their families. They told me that providing a better future for their families was the biggest reason they work so hard to succeed in this country.
We dream about owning our own home and about leaving our kids enough money so that they don’t have to worry about it. We dream about providing our kids a better education than we had.
According to a study on the pursuit of the American dream among business owners, the major motivations of Latinos to start their businesses were to pursue the American Dream, to take control of their lives, and to support their families.
Eighty-nine percent of Latino entrepreneurs start a business to provide financially for their families. Seventy-nine percent start a business to be their own boss versus 57% for all business owners. Seventy-six percent start a business to have more control over their lives and time versus 53% for all business owners.
Fifty-five percent start a business to have something tangible to pass on to their children, versus 35% for all business owners. Sixty-six percent start a business to follow their dreams versus 36% for all business owners.
Our optimism and desire to pursue our dreams like our entrepreneurial inclinations are undeniable. We work very hard to fund the education of our kids, and we believe in giving back and supporting our parents financially.
We have struggled; we have had to figure out how to survive in a new country with no connections or safety net. We are ingenious, creative and entrepreneurial we are scrappy and resilient; we have mastered the hustle.
It is very clear that we have a deep desire to control our own destinies and secure our family’s future. Being able to take control of our lives means having the wealth, time, and freedom to enjoy our families. Also, it is clear that we start our own business to pursue our dreams much more so than non-Latinos.
According to the “U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce/Geoscape 2015 Hispanic Businesses & Entrepreneurs Drive Growth in the New Economy” report, Latino -owned businesses in the United States are growing at an accelerated pace — 15 times the national growth rate and this trend has been sustained for at least the last 10 to 15 years.
Unfortunately, according to the “Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative 2015 report” more than half (54%) of the surveyed Latino Business Owners have businesses that are either growing slowly, staying stagnant or shrinking, revealing a clear disconnect between goals and reality.
If all Latino Owned Businesses averaged the same yearly sales per firm as all Non-Latino Owned Businesses, $1.38 trillion would have been added to the economy. This difference named the Opportunity Gap by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative represents the potential economic impact of scaling Latino Owned Businesses to the same level of Non-Latino businesses.
This represents a tremendous wealth-building opportunity for Latino entrepreneurs and for companies that help them scale their businesses especially in the financial industry.
It is critical that these companies understand and get more comfortable with our unique entrepreneurial DNA, mindset and aspirations. The more they can be flexible and offer us products and services that are tailored to our entrepreneurial mindset the more money Latino entrepreneurs and they will make.
When it comes to win/win wealth building opportunities in this country this is as good as it gets…