Indy’s Hispanic-Owned Businesses Contribute $1.1B to Metro Economy

The Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council (HBC) released a new Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) study on the regional economic impact of Hispanic-owned enterprises this morning.  IBRC experts presented their findings at the Council’s Conexion breakfast, detailing the demographics of nearly 4,900 Hispanic-owned firms employing 7,300 across the nine-county metro area.

These companies generate a combined $1.1 billion in revenues; the large majority are small enterprises or self-employed entrepreneurs.

“Local ventures are the foundation of our economy, and it’s important we understand the growing diversity of our homegrown businesses,” said Indy Chamber President and CEO Michael Huber.  “Our Hispanic Business Council provides an important forum for networking and sharing opportunities, and this study from our partners at the IBRC will be a helpful roadmap to strengthen these efforts.”

IBRC Director Jerry Conover noted that the breadth of Hispanic-owned companies reflects the explosive growth of the Latino population across the Indianapolis region over twenty years.

“The metropolitan population of Hispanics and Latinos has risen by 480% in the last two decades, 16 times faster than overall population growth,” Conover said.  “That’s more than 100,000 new Hispanic residents – for perspective, it’s like adding a community the size of Carmel since the turn of the century.”

Other key findings from the analysis include:

  • Local Latino population growth is dominated by migration and births of Mexican origin (71% of total growth);
  • In the nine-county region, Marion County had the largest numeric gains in Hispanic residents, while Hamilton and Hendricks Counties had the highest percentage growth (117% and 81%, respectively);
  • Among Hispanic-owned businesses, small firms are most prevalent, and construction is by far the largest industry cluster;
  • Other major industries represented – with an average size of one employee or less – include food and retail, professional services and healthcare/social services;
  • The larger – by number of employees and average sales – Hispanic-owned businesses tend to be in transportation/warehousing, food service and accommodations, and wholesale trade.

“This data confirms that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Indy’s Hispanic community,” said Ryan Marques of Lewis & Kappes, who chairs the HBC.  “It also shows that many of our business owners are trying to grow their companies without much support – either on their own, or with just a handful of employees to share the work.  That’s why peer-to-peer venues like the Council and initiatives like our Mentor-Protégé Program are so important.”

The HBC Mentor-Protégé Program aims to support up-and-coming Hispanic businesses by matching larger mentor firms with protégé companies to provide encouragement and advice, make connections and support business development, and generally build long-term relationships that help the protégés pursue and manage growth.

Huber added that resources offered through the Chamber’s broader Entrepreneur Services division are also highly-relevant to these ‘micro-enterprises.’

“Imagine a construction contractor, spending all day on a job site, tackling accounts payable and receivables in the evenings, perhaps dealing with language barriers and other issues at the same time,” Huber said.  “Our one-on-one business coaching – also available in Spanish – can help with cash flow management and longer-term planning, helping these one- and two-person companies work smarter and boost their odds of success.”

Conover concluded that demographic trends point towards even greater potential for Hispanic-owned business formation and expansion, with the right entrepreneurial support and resources.

“Indy’s Hispanic and Latino community is growing faster and is also younger than our overall population,” he explained.  “That means the next decade will bring a higher relative percentage of Hispanics entering the workforce, reaching prime working years, and potentially pursuing business ownership – if we create an ecosystem that encourages them to do so.”

The new study is now available for download here.

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