Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — A new report shows the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs in America have grown exponentially over the last 20 years, which helped pull the country out of the recent recession.
The report from the Partnership for a New American Economy and the Latino Donors Collaborative found that the ranks of Hispanic entrepreneurs are outpacing their non-Hispanic counterparts and helped bring the U.S. economy out of the recession.
Researchers found the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs grew by 71.5 percent from 2000 to 2010, while the pool of non-Hispanic entrepreneurs shrank.
The researchers surmise that if the 581,000 Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs who created businesses from 2000 to 2010 were instead unemployed in 2010, then the unemployment rate would have been over 10 percent, essentially 0.4 percent higher than what it was at the time.
The report also suggests the entrepreneurial gap may be widening. In 2010, 10.2 percent of the U.S. population was entrepreneurs, while 11 percent of Hispanic immigrants were.
In 2012, there was a slight dip to 10 percent among the U.S. population, while Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs totaled 11.7 percent of the Hispanic population.
Proyecto Latino de Utah director Tony Yapias said he has seen Hispanic entrepreneurs change the landscape of business in Utah.
“Immigrants tend to bring new ideas, new businesses, a new way of doing things,” he said.
Yapias sees the trend as a continuation of the American story. Natalie Gochnour, chief economist at the Salt Lake Chamber, agreed.
“That’s a truism in our state, and something that certainly has helped as the Hispanic population has grown in our state,” she said.
Gochnour attributed Utah’s rise from the recession to low business costs, infrastructure investments and large construction projects like the NSA Data Center in Bluffdale.
However, she said Hispanic entrepreneurs have also made a difference.
“I think this is one of many contributing factors to Utah’s positive recovery and strong economy right now,” Gochnour said.
Nationally, the rise of Hispanic entrepreneurs has been some time in the making. The report found they grew from 577,000 to more than 2 million from 1990 to 2012. Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs more than quadrupled during the same time, from 321,000 to 1.4 million.
El Rocoto Peruvian Restaurant in West Valley City was started in 2009 by a husband and wife. Featuring popular dishes like lomo saltado and pollo a la brasa, manager Marco Munoz said the business is now flourishing and has expanded to a second location.
The owners have also opened a Mexican restaurant, and they employ 40 total workers.
“Businesses like us?” he said. “They help the economy.”
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