The Aspen Institute Forum on Latino Business Growth
American Latinos are fueling new business growth nationwide. Despite leading in new ventures, they face challenges when it comes to scaling those businesses. In June 2017, the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program (AILAS) enlisted 27 cross-sector leaders and stakeholders to develop solutions that support Latino-owned business (LOB) in growing their ventures through the Aspen Institute Forum on Latino Business Growth.
Given the trifecta of rapid growth of the Latino population (reaching one-third of the US population by 2060), record levels of new LOBs (4-15 times the rate of other populations) and the limitations to scaling LOBs, high-value intervention is needed to optimize the impact of LOBs on the U.S. economy. With these circumstances, the group set out to identify high-impact solutions with the greatest likelihood of scaling a critical segment of the Latino business universe – those with potential to reach over a million in revenue. The focus areas were: 1) access to capital, 2) Latino power and influence, 3) adequate business training, 4) networks and mentoring, 5) branding and narratives, and 6) procurement opportunities.
In November 2017, the AILAS published Unleashing Latino-owned Business Potential – a report laying out the full set of challenges and solutions for different stakeholders to put into action.
Building upon the 2017 Forum on Latino Business Growth and the subsequent report, AILAS convened a second Forum on Latino Business Growth in May 2019. There, a diverse group of entrepreneurs, entrepreneur-serving organizations, funders, and thought leaders worked together to develop a series of actions—or plays—that various stakeholders can take to help more LOBs access capital, expand into new markets, spur revenue generation, and change the current operating environment in order to accelerate the number of LOBs able to scale to $1 million or more in revenue.
What resulted is A Playbook for Scaling Latino-Owned Businesses, which, offers a series of concrete action steps that a variety of capital providers, procurement decision-makers, economic developers, municipalities, corporations, government financial agencies, regulators, entrepreneur–support organizations, elected officials, and other stakeholders can take to close the LOB opportunity gap.