Aspen Latino Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Latino entrepreneurs are starting businesses nearly twice as fast as the national average. These businesses represent more than 3 million American jobs and 75 percent of them serve primarily non-Latino customers. However, Latino businesses were among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. This exacerbated existing disparities and is making it even more difficult for these businesses to reach their full economic potential.

Since 2017, the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program (AILAS) has enlisted diverse cross-sector leaders and stakeholders to develop solutions that support Latino-owned business (LOB) in growing their ventures.

As the country builds back from the pandemic, Latino entrepreneurs are a critical part of our economic recovery. The new Aspen Latino Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative (LBEI) works to accelerate Latino-owned businesses’ immediate and long-term growth across the U.S.

The LBEI portfolio comprises the inaugural City Learning & Action Lab and the Latino Business & Entrepreneurship Summit.

City Learning and Action Lab

The City Learning and Action Lab focuses on six Latino-majority cities and communities to spur economic growth in regions where COVID-19 exacerbated long-existing inequities. The initiative is a hub and spoke model designed to enhance the capacity and support anchor organizations in each city to form an entrepreneurial ecosystem steering committee composed of 8 to 10 key cross-sector leaders. Committee members will coalesce around strategic priorities and implement solutions to boost and sustain the local Latino business economy.  

The first cohort of cities includes San Bernardino in California, Phoenix in Arizona, the Southwest side of Chicago in Illinois, El Paso and San Antonio in Texas and Miami in Florida. 

The City Learning and Action Lab curates Latino-centric communities to learn, innovate together, and connect to national networks. The Lab enhances local leaders’ capacity and helps attract capital from public, private, and philanthropic sectors to catalyze inclusive growth in their region.


Small Business
A Playbook for Scaling Latino-Owned Businesses
February 12, 2020 • Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program