Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) is the one moment in the year that undeniably belongs to Hispanics, Latino and Latinas and Latinx as a unified community. This year’s theme – “Esperanza – A celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.”
And while the umbrella categorization of ‘Hispanic’ is intertwined with the U.S. Census and its attempts to identify and quantify different groups of people, the descriptor has never really been a natural fit for nearly 20% of the U.S. population, a third of whom are younger than 18.
Never has there been more need to unite and support this thriving community.
The Hispanic/Latinx community is driving major economic growth and shaping the culture of Salt Lake City. The contributions are essential and have been consistent throughout the history of time – from sports, culture, retail, media, entertainment, agriculture and more.
Did you know?
- There are more than 370,000 Hispanic/Latinx residents in Utah, which constitutes the largest minority population demographic in Utah.
- Hispanic/Latinx owned businesses drive $9.6 billion into the Utah economy each year. (Source: Zions Bank)
- Currently, there are more than 10,000 Hispanic/Latinx-owned businesses in Utah and growing. (Source: Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity)
Despite all of the progress and active development, achievements are often invisible – not only externally, but also within the community. That is one reason why Salt Lake City strives to connect Hispanic/Latinx entrepreneurs with the resources to thrive.
First, Mayor Erin Mendenhall joined local Latino and Hispanic leaders and organizations to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15th with a proclamation encouraging that connection with our community, saying in part: “We invite all communities, businesses and employees to take part in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month events and celebrations.”
Second, SLC has incredible, supportive programs and organizations designed for the entrepreneur and startup:
- Salt Lake City offers the Economic Development Loan Fund (EDLF) which helps business owners accomplish their dreams by providing financing that they might not be able to find elsewhere. The program aims to invest in viable businesses that produce strong economic returns while also providing positive social and environmental impacts to our community.
- Sometimes the amount of resources available to an entrepreneur can be overwhelming. Knowing where to look and find help for your particular startup is a challenge. That is why Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development offers a Startup Guide for Entrepreneurs and also a customized Business Development Resource Finder.
- Suazo Business Center has been a critical partner in helping our local business owners recover from the effects of COVID-19. Suazo supports entrepreneurs, helping them explore, launch, and grow their business through bilingual consulting, in-depth training, and a variety of business-related workshops and resources. The focus is on the business owner, providing wrap-around support services to address potential barriers to success.
Executive Director Silvia Castro is a frequent guest of Startup SLC Podcast, covering its rich history, loan fund, its 8A Certification Program, and sharing client success stories – including Chopper Landscaping, artist entrepreneur Jorge Rojas, Nostalgia Café, and more. We highly recommend a listen and follow their social channels for in depth insight
- Consulmex Salt Lake works to stimulate stronger connections between the U.S. and Latino, Mexican, and Mexican-American Communities. The consulate’s primary tasks focus on helping citizens from Mexico who reside or are traveling in the United States.
- The Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (UHCC) provides leadership, opportunities for economic growth, professional development and community involvement its members.
- Scaling up operations, including less access to financing and credit, and finding skilled workers are challenges any small business owner faces, but these national resources for Hispanic/Latinx owned organizations are another resource to help.
- Finally, social media is a fantastic way for business owners to connect and find help, and for the community to support them. EL MERCADITO HISPANO DE UTAH on Utah is a good place to start.
National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month is a great reminder now (and every month) of what we can and will achieve even more through education and community support.
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