Trillions Left on the Table: New Aspen Institute Playbook to Scale Latino Businesses

February 13, 2020

Using a new set of strategies, business leaders, public officials, and entrepreneurs are encouraged to strengthen the U.S. economy by supporting Latino-owned businesses

Contact: Maria Samaniego
Senior Program Manager, Latinos & Society Program
The Aspen Institute
[email protected] | 323-578-7252


Washington, DC, February 13, 2020
The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program has released a new publication, A Playbook for Scaling Latino-Owned Businesses. Latino entrepreneurs create new businesses at multiples the rate of other groups, but their businesses tend to start and stay small.  The Playbook offers “plays” that stakeholders could implement to accelerate the number of scaled Latino-owned businesses (LOBs). There are some 4.65 million LOBs in the United States (which contribute $700 billion in sales to the economy each year), however just three percent of those have scaled; that is, reached $1 million dollars or more in revenue annually. If LOBs were to scale at the same rate as white-owned businesses, an estimated $1.47 trillion dollars could be added to the economy, benefitting not just Latinos, but all Americans.

Building upon the Unleashing Latino-owned Business Potential report released in 2017, the Aspen Institute Forum on Latino Business Growth produced  A Playbook for Scaling Latino-Owned Businesses to offer more concrete action steps or plays that if implemented can fast track LOB scaling. The Playbook identifies key stakeholders in the businesses ecosystem – including public officials, corporate and government entities, capital providers, entrepreneurs and business support organizations –  who could implement the plays to help more LOBs access capital, expand into new markets, ramp up growth, and influence the operating environment.

By putting A Playbook for Scaling Latino Businesses into the public sphere, the Institute hopes that a promising group of Latino-owned businesses poised to scale will be able to realize significant growth in revenue and size and provide even greater contribution to the U.S. economy.

The plays were developed by a variety of actors in the business support ecosystem, who drew on proven tactics and adapted them to the Latino reality to enable more Latino entrepreneurs to reach their full potential. Some of the plays focus on addressing aspects of the operating environment that hinder or facilitate the growth of LOBs, such as unhelpful narratives about Latinos and their businesses, and others focus on promising policies or practices such as overcoming hurdles to accessing capital and providing more access to supply chain and market opportunities.

“This playbook is the culmination of deep discussions by diverse stakeholders committed to helping Latino businesses thrive. The action steps presented here, if implemented, will put Latino-owned businesses on a path toward greater earnings, resulting in economic growth for communities and the nation,” said Gaddi Vasquez, Chairman of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program.

Below are a few examples of some of the plays identified by Forum participants and presented in the Playbook:

  • Improve the way that commercial banks work with Community Development Financial Institutions to enable more Latino business owners to get the funding that they need.
  • Launch and support a viral social media and marketing campaign around the idea of getting one million Latino businesses to reach one million or more in revenue and change limiting narratives of what Latino-owned businesses can be.
  • Create new investment vehicles and equity-like financial products to meet Latino business owners’ needs.
  • Catalyze strategic supplier partnership through direct matchmaking services.
  • Encourage large scale growth through mergers and acquisitions.
  • Capitalize on corporate expansion or relocation opportunities to negotiate diversity requirements that foster rapid growth for LOBs through public-private partnerships.

“Many of the participants of the Forum on Latino Business Growth not only developed the plays offered in the playbook, they are also implementing them. It’s very exciting to see recognition and enthusiasm in support of American Latinos as drivers of new business and wealth creation grow,” said Abigail Golden-Vazquez, Vice President and Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program.

To read the report: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/a-playbook-for-scaling-latino-owned-businesses

The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program officially released the playbook at an event in their Washington, DC office on February 13, 2020. For a full recording of the program, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJQmFtG09PM

The Aspen Institute Forum on Latino Business Growth and this report were made possible through the support of JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, Target, Ricardo Salinas/Grupo Salinas, Google.org, Wells Fargo, Comcast NBCUniversal/Telemundo, and Edison International.

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The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program (AILAS), founded in 2015, provides a non-partisan unbiased platform for shared learning across communities of influencers on the critical barriers preventing greater Latino achievement and jointly come up with new, innovative and actionable solutions for a more prosperous future for all Americans. To learn more, follow @AspenLatinos, or visit www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/latinos-and-society-program/. To continue the conversation, please tweet @AspenLatinos and @AspenInstitute using #LatinosAdvance

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. Learn more at www.aspeninstitute.org.

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