In this column, Tony D'Andrea, Director of Planning and Research at The San Jose Group, explains the role of the "Nueva Latina", a relatively new and important demographic. Its main feature lies in the fact that it embraces both U.S. and Latin American cultures in a new and dynamic way.

The U.S. Census Bureau has just released new data on the ethnicity of female business owners. The phenomenal growth of Latina entrepreneurs is a main highlight deserving special consideration. 788,000 Latinas now run their own businesses in America, according to the most recent Survey of Business Owners. This represents a 46% increase over a five-year (2002-2007) period against the 20% found across female business of all ethnic backgrounds. Their background is Mexican (44%), Cuban (9%), and Puerto Rican (8%), complemented by a myriad of Central and South American nationalities. Latinas now own 36% of all companies run by minority women in the country.

Latina business’ revenue growth and job creation have been outstanding by all accounts. They generate over 55 billion dollars in revenue annually, a 57% increase against the more modest 5% across the overall female group over the 2002-2007 period, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. With an annual revenue growth of 9.5% per year, Latina business is expanding faster than most developed nations. They concentrate in healthcare (20%), administrative services (18%), retail (10%), professional (9%) and real estate (6%). Although most firms are run as sole proprietorships, Latina employer firms create jobs for 363,000 workers, a 29% increase vis-à-vis the 5% seen in the overall female business group.

“The strength of Latina entrepreneurs is indicative of larger shifts occurring in the Hispanic population,” as noted by Jim Legg, The San Jose Group’s EVP of Leadership and Innovation. In addition to the boom of Latina business owners in America, almost 50% of all Hispanic women have already joined the nation’s workforce, according to official data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor.

Consequently, as Latinas play a more prominent role in the economy, they will also develop new aspirations, preferences, and consumption patterns that depart from old stereotypes. The rise of female entrepreneurs also expresses their discontentment with unfair treatment and constraints women of all ethnic backgrounds often face in structured corporate environments. As such, they want fair opportunities in which to actualize their creative and business potential.

Tony D’Andrea is Director of Planning and Research at The San Jose Group, headquartered in Chicago. As a strategic planner and anthropologist, Anthony has over 10 years of consulting experience integrating research insights into effective strategies. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and a BBA in Business from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

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