Wednesday, March 29, 2006

N.Y. Leads Boom in Hispanic Business

N.Y. Leads Boom in Hispanic Business

March 22, 2006

Adam Nichols

Hispanic-owned businesses are opening three times faster than the national average -- and New York's Latino entrepreneurs are leading the way, government figures show.

U.S. Census Bureau statistics show Hispanics owned 1.6 million American businesses in 2002, 31 percent more than in 1997.

The census also showed New York's Hispanic entrepreneurs were opening for business nearly twice as fast -- showing a 57 percent increase.

The outsized success among Hispanics is being attributed to a huge surge in the Latino community over recent years.

"The Hispanic consumer market is exploding," said Michael Barrera, president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "A lot of Hispanic businesses are going to benefit from that."

Among high-growth areas for Latino entrepreneurs was the Bronx, the county with the fourth-largest number of Hispanic companies in the country. Queens was fifth.

Experts estimate that Hispanic consumers spend $700 billion a year. That is expected to rise to $1 trillion by the end of the decade.

Bronx businessman Frank Garcia said, "Hispanic businesses are serving Latino customers, [who] ... are very loyal customers. That community is expanding very quickly, and that is why businesses serving them are growing so rapidly."

Garcia, 36, who is also president of the New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, is seeing his own 10-year-old office supply company, Millennium Remanufactured Toners, grow quickly.

"My business has grown from $1 million in sales to $6-7 million by the end of this year," he said. "I'm employing 15 people."

The Census Bureau's figures, based on administrative records and a survey of 2.4 million companies, showed the vast majority of Hispanic businesses are one-person enterprises.

Many were in the construction or service industries, although Garcia said Bronx entrepreneurs show imagination.

"We have a new kind of business owner, people who are graduating high school and opening untypical businesses like record labels," he said.

"New Hispanic businesses are growing, they're employing a large portion of the population and paying a lot of taxes.

"Hopefully, we'll start getting more recognition from federal and local government, and start seeing some of those taxes come back to us."

Source: Copyright (c) 2006, Daily News, New York

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