Latino-owned businesses rise through pandemic with help of nonprofits

Amid the economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Latino-owned businesses are recovering with the help of Arizona nonprofits and companies. Across the state, these businesses are utilizing programs designed to help Hispanic business owners who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

One of these programs, set up by Fuerza Local (Local First Arizona), has provided $2 million in relief grants to small businesses owners in low-to-moderate income households across Arizona. Another non-profit, the Raza Development Fund, started the COVID-19 Hope Fund in partnership with Wells Fargo. 

Additionally, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has worked to provide resources and small-business grants throughout the pandemic. 

PepsiCo also created Juntos Crecemos, which provides grants, mentorship and coaching to Hispanic-owned small businesses. The program has invested more than $50 million across the country.

El Salvadoreño Restaurant, a locally owned chain and beneficiary of the Juntos Crecemos program, reported a 30% to 40% loss in sales in the first few months of the pandemic. “We survived the 2008 recession, but this was very different,” said Yesenia Ramírez, the co-owner of the restaurant. 

With the help of the program and some changes to their business model, they have been able to mitigate some of the barriers presented by the pandemic. Ramirez received a financial scholarship of $10,000 from Juntos Crecemos. 

It has been well documented throughout the pandemic that the Hispanic community has been adversely affected. According to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, nearly a third of Hispanic businesses across the country have been forced to shut down due to the pandemic. 

The sectors that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic – leisure and hospitality, retail, transportation, and construction – account for nearly 50% of the revenue generated by Hispanic and Latino-owned businesses. Additionally, 65% of Hispanics and Latinos work in these sectors.

Despite this, Hispanic businesses appear to be making a strong recovery. Recently, 53% reported being profitable and 24% reported breaking even despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Latino-owned businesses also averaged a 25% growth rate in annual revenue over the past two years. 

Additionally, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce reports that Hispanic purchasing power in Arizona reached $63 billion in 2020. 

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