Latino-Owned Businesses Growing In Number, Influence

By Joshua Silavent
The Times, Gainesville, Ga.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Camille Viera says she got her entrepreneurial start in 2005 after working as the branch manager of Gainesville Bank & Trust, a job that allowed her to form relationships and make connections in the local business community.

The Times, Gainesville, Ga.

Camille Viera, a Gainesville business owner of Puerto Rican descent, is part of a growing economic engine that has taken hold in communities across the country.

“I have been so blessed,” she said.

About 1.2 million of the 12.2 million business owners in the United States are immigrant Latinos, according a January 2018 report from the U.S. Small Business Administration based on the latest census figures.

Are you a Latino business owner?

The Stanford University Latino Entrepreneurship is hosting a survey and looking for respondents. To learn more, visit The survey is available here: English version; Spanish version

This subset of business owners generates $36.5 billion in income despite a number of constraints and barriers to entry, be they cultural or financial, according to the report.

Meanwhile, an estimated 600,000 additional business owners in the United States are U.S.-born Latinos.

Gabriel Velazquez Jr., also a Gainesville business owner, fits in this crowd, which generates $26 billion in income, the report states.

“We are growing,” he said of his restaurant, Taqueria El Mercadito, located on Pearl Nix Parkway.

Both Viera and Velazquez are participating in a survey launched by the Stanford University Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative to help collect data on small and medium-sized Latino-owned businesses in Georgia.

The Hispanic Alliance Georgia, a Gainesville-based nonprofit, is collaborating with the research study that aims to catalogue the assets, opportunities, barriers to entry and ongoing challenges of Latino entrepreneurs.

“The study, the first of its kind in the state, will benchmark Georgia against national averages and the findings will be used to help us develop more effective programing and services,” said director Vanesa Sarazua.

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