The number of Hispanic-owned businesses and Hispanic entrepreneurs in the U.S. has grown 44 percent over the past decade — an impressive surge by any standard, especially compared to the growth rate of other minority-owned businesses. Currently, there are roughly 400,000 to 450,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., making up nearly seven percent of all companies. These businesses generate almost $473 billion in receipts and employ around three million people.
Despite this strength in economic and community growth, Hispanic entrepreneurs still face challenges in accessing funding and finding support, networking, and mentorship resources. To support and empower Hispanic American entrepreneurs — especially in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 — October 15) — we’ll review the top ten resources and grant programs that can aid Hispanic small business owners in navigating their entrepreneurial journey with confidence and success.
From networking opportunities and financial support to mentorship and educational programs, these resources are designed to elevate Hispanic-owned businesses and celebrate their rich cultural heritage.
Ready to start your dream business? Get started with our 10 Steps to Starting a Business.
Top Business Resources for Hispanic Entrepreneurs
1. Latino Business Action Network
The Latino Business Action Network (LBAN) is a partnership with Stanford University and corporate sponsors such as Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Its Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) is designed to take both business education and research methods from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and make them actionable for aspiring and current Hispanic business leaders from across the nation. LBAN offers ongoing education and network opportunities.
2. The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA)
The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) was founded more than 50 years ago and is dedicated to providing networking and development paths for its membership through the national organization and individual chapters. Currently, membership standards are over 116,000. Members obtain development, job, networking, and internship opportunities with Fortune 1000 partners. ALPFA plans to grow its membership rolls aggressively in the coming years, in line with the expected rise of the Hispanic population in the U.S.
3. U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)
The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is an umbrella group for roughly 260 Hispanic chambers of commerce (CCs) in the U.S. and other business organizations. They sponsor an annual National conference to bring together these leaders and corporate sponsors. USHCC also fosters Hispanic-led entrepreneurship via networking, a procurement database, and educational activities. It is also focused on increasing business ties and activity between the U.S. and Latin America.
4. Latinas Think Big
Nearly one-quarter of all Hispanic-owned firms in the U.S. are headed by women. Latinas Think Big is dedicated to providing both an online platform and live events for career advice, networking, mentoring and education for Hispanic women entrepreneurs. Latinas Think Big currently has more than 20,000 members. It is particularly focused on women business leaders who think strategically and long term, to accelerate their business growth. Summits both highlight national trends, such as education and technology, and provide a cohesive space for sharing personal stories.
5. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce focused on developing minority-owned businesses. To that end, it provides information on how to find funding, guidance on establishing and growing a business, and access to multiple resources. The MBDA also provides funding of around $4 billion annually in contracts. Finally, local MBDA Business Centers nationwide further provides localized access to guidance and resources.
Top Loans and Grants for Hispanic Entrepreneurs
Access to funding is essential for businesses to thrive. It can also be challenging for Hispanic-owned businesses. Successful Hispanic entrepreneurs must think creatively — and be aware of the many funding options available.
Loans are funds provided by a lender, such as a bank or other financial institution that must be paid back over time. To successfully apply for a loan, you will need to meet the lender’s financial criteria, including creditworthiness, assets, down payments, and profit history. It’s important to realize that not all lenders have the same criteria; some are more flexible than others, particularly for minority-owned businesses, so it can be prudent to shop around. You also need to ensure your business can successfully repay the loan. Be sure to calculate the amount of debt service (payments) you must make every month.
Grants, unlike loans, do not need to be paid back. A successful grant application can thus provide valuable capital that does not carry debt service in the future. In addition, many grants offer mentorship, networking and advice as part of the application process. Most grants are given for specific purposes. To successfully apply for a grant, you will need to carefully review the reason the grant-making organization is making the grant and make sure that your company and objectives fit those reasons. Carefully look at the criteria and qualifications for grantees, to make sure you and your company fit them.
See how to transition from office to entrepreneurship in How to Start a Business with these Top 3 Startup Strategies.
Small Business Administration Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government program to facilitate loans for small businesses. The SBA works with lenders such as banks and credit unions to guarantee these loans, lessening the lender’s risk. As a result, these loans can often have more advantageous terms than other types of loans — such as lower interest rates and longer periods to pay the loan back. Both of these lower the monthly payment for you. SBA loans can typically be used for a wide variety of business purposes. Historically, the SBA has offered programs specifically designed to foster the growth of minority-owned businesses, including women-owned and veteran-owned businesses.
Applying for an SBA loan can be complex and advantageous. But only a small percentage of applications are approved. SBA Loans are competitive, especially now. You’ll also need to meet specific criteria for consideration. For example, your credit score, assets, business plan, and more will be evaluated by the SBA. If you need guidance or mentorship on SBA loans, Guidant Financial can help you optimize your chances of success — or explore other financing methods that match your goals.
Explore more loans and opportunities for Hispanic Entrepreneurs in Best 10+ Resources for Hispanic Entrepreneurs.
Small Business Grants
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grants
The USDA Rural Development Grants are available to small companies outside urbanized centers of 50,000 or more. (Note that these can include many suburbs as well as more rural areas; entrepreneurs can look up eligible places on the grants website.) The companies can’t employ more than 50 people or have revenue of more than $1 million.
The USDA offers two types of Rural Development Grants, known as Enterprise Grants and Opportunity Grants. Enterprise Grants are focused on training, land acquisition, and property development. Opportunity Grants can be used for a wide range of purposes, including feasibility studies and long-range planning.
Grants.gov is the umbrella website for nearly all U.S. government-funded grants. The government funds billions of dollars per year, and a substantial percentage is awarded to businesses who are furthering one of the stated goals of the grants, offered by more than two dozen grant-making Federal agencies. On grants.gov, entrepreneurs can learn about how to apply for grants, search for grants relevant to their company’s products and mission and apply for the grants.
FedEx Small Business Grants
Shipping and mailing are one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the country. If that’s part of your business, and you’re a FedEx customer, you may be eligible for one of the $30,000 annual FedEx Small Business Grants awarded every year. Your company must have 99 or fewer employees. In addition to the award, the FedEx Small Business Grants process offers advice, collaboration and networking opportunities.
National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
Over nine million people in the United States are self-employed. If you’re one of them, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) awards grants to self-employed individuals every quarter, of as much as $4,000. A total of 16 grants are given every year. You must be a NASE member to apply. The purpose of the Growth Grants is very flexible; it can be any aspect of growing your business, including hiring employees, marketing campaigns and equipment acquisitions. The NASE has awarded more than $1 million since the inception of the grant.
Business Resources and Support
- Latino Business Action Network: Education and networking in business, with high-powered corporate partners
- Association of Latino Professionals for America: Jobs, internships and networking
- U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: Conferences, networking and mentorship
- Latinas Think Big: Conferences, networking, online platform
- Minority Business Development Agency: Business funding and guidance
Grants and Loans
- Small Business Administration: Loans and guidance
- USDA Rural Business Development Grants: Rural funding for small companies
- Grants.gov: Guidance, education and funding announcements for Federal grants
- FedEx Small Business Grants: Large funding opportunity held annually
- National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE): Grants for growth in a self-employed business
Looking for more financing options to explore? See our 7 Best Options for Small Business Funding.
Fund Your Small Business Dreams Today
What’s the right funding opportunity choice for your business? There’s no one right answer. It depends on several factors, including the amount you need, the cost of capital, your business, your background, and even the overall economic picture in which you operate. Let Guidant help. We can help you pre-qualify for loans and other methods of business financing.
Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation to get started — or pre-qualify in minutes for business financing now!