While Latinos are the fastest-growing group of small business owners, the community has also been hit disproportionately by COVID-19.
Latinos helping Latinos. That is the mission behind a new financial fund created by the Support Latino Business (SLB), a nonprofit organization. In honor of the 2nd annual Support Latino Business Day and the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, SLB launched the Support Latino Business Impact Fund, which will provide grants to small Latino businesses.
“We are at a critical juncture for the well-being of Latino entrepreneurship,” said María Samaniego, senior program manager at The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program in a statement to The Americano. “Owning one in four of all new US businesses, Latinos were starting new companies at more than twice the rate of other groups combined.”
The New York Times reports that in April, the government approved $349 billion in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, those funds ran out in 13 days. Congress approved another wave of relief funds totaling $310 billion. As of July, $130 billion remained in that fund. The reality is many Latino businesses have been shut out of those loans.
An April survey presented by Color of Change and UnidosUS, showed that only 12% of minority business owners who applied for relief reported receiving what they had asked for. Another 26% said they had received only a fraction of what they had requested. Nearly half of all owners said they anticipated having to close permanently in the next six months. In comparison, three-quarters of non-minority business owners said they had asked for a loan, and 38% of them said they had received one.
In an interview with The Americano, Diana Limon, owner of Diana’s Flower Shop in Austin, Texas, said she did not apply for the government’s small business loan for two reasons. She said the application process was too complicated, and she wasn’t sure if she could pay back the loan. Limon said that because of the financial crisis and to take better care of her aging parents, she would be forced to close her flower shop permanently.
RELATED: She Closed Her Flower Shop After 36 Years. There Are 100,000 Small Business Owners Just Like Her.
“I didn’t want to go out this way, but my parents are more important to me than business,” Limon said.
The Support Latino Business Impact Fund—generated from donations—was created to help business owners like Limon. The grant is available to Latino small businesses across the country. Applications open on Monday, Sept. 21. To be eligible, companies must be majority Latino-owned, and must have been in business for at least one year. Grants must be used to support the applicant’s business directly. To apply, you must sign up for the FREE Support Latino Business Directory.
Those who sign up will get an email with a link to the application. For those who register for the directory on Tuesday or later, there will be a link at the end of the Business Directory.