Hispanic Immigrants More Likely to be Entrepreneurs Than Rest of U.S.

Apr 2, 2014

An organization promoting immigration reform makes the case for it with a report on immigrant entrepreneurship.

The Partnership for a New American Economy points to 20 years of strong growth in Hispanic entrepreneurship as a good reason for immigration reform. In 2012, nearly 12 percent of Hispanic immigrants owned their own businesses, compared to 10 percent of the entire U.S., and the gap is getting bigger.

Scott Kiplinger with the partnership says it covers a wide range of industries.

"It doesn't have to be pigeonholed into one particular sector of the private market," Kiplinger said. "They are very diverse. They're able to provide a wide range of services and goods. If we're not able to incorporate that into our economy, we're not being creative enough to try and fix some of the economic problems that we face."

From 1990 to 2012, the number of self-employed Hispanics tripled while the number of self-employed non-Hispanics grew just 14 percent. The study said said out of more than 2 million Hispanic entrepreneurs in the U.S., 1.4 million are immigrants.

Eduardo Martinez is on the board of directors for the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber. He said the spirit of entrepreneurship is a matter of necessity and culture.

"I think we have, at least that I've seen, a community that's very entrepreneurial and very interested in starting off on their own," Martinez said. "They're not satisfied with the status quo. They want to get ahead."

The report didn’t have specific numbers for Oklahoma, but Kiplinger pointed to Oklahoma City-based Lone Star Construction as an example of a business established by a Hispanic immigrant.