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There are reports and statistics that inform and promote the value of minority-owned businesses. Bring a diverse team together with different skills and ideas and you will be amazed at that outcomes. 

It is the same with our economic ecosystem. Encourage and attract minority-owned businesses and watch them drive job creation, innovation and economic growth. There are studies that support this with data. A May article in the USA TODAY Network series “Hecho en USA” (Made in America) spoke to the nation’s growing Hispanic/Latino community as the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs. In the past 10 years, we have seen Hispanic owned small business growth of 34 percent. Minority-owned businesses contribute not only to economic growth by establishing businesses, they also create a positive impact by consuming.

However, consider another benefit to minority-owned businesses, the ability to transport us and allow us to experience something through a different lens. We experience new tastes when eating at Mexican/Latino restaurants, but why stop there? We can experience food from the Middle East, Asia, Greece and more. We can now visit grocers that can help us learn more about the cuisine and products available in other countries. The barbershop was quietly fading and suddenly came back strong. Why? Minorities rejuvenated the industry creating and innovating into the hairstyles and fashions we see today.

We are in a time where social distancing is forcing us to do more research and purchases online. Before we hit “add to cart” on our phone or laptop, we should check out other small businesses and look for local businesses that provide the same product or service. In this time, we are all just one click away from helping a small and minority owned business keep their doors open a little longer. We are all just one visit away from giving our small and minority-owned businesses hope for another day. Minority-owned businesses you see operating have overcome many challenges to get there from the creation of their idea, to the passion of bringing it to life, and the daily struggle to stay afloat. Prior to COVID-19, our minority-owned businesses and all businesses were thriving. We cannot change what has transpired, but we can choose how we work together to support our local businesses. We can do that.

At the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we represent more than 1,100 members and small business owners. We are celebrating Hispanic Heritage month and it is a great opportunity to recognize the contributions of minority-owned businesses and their impact to the community. We are honored to once again deliver the Hispanic Market Outlook Report that will be available on our website after Sept. 21. We will continue to share data that can help small businesses and minority-owned businesses determine what they offer and where. What trends are visible and how their businesses might find a niche. It also provides insight into how to market and understand what is important to the Hispanic/Latino community. It is our hope the information helps create understanding of what we contribute and how tightly woven we all are in the economic success of Tucson and its community.  

 Isabel Georgelos is the Interim President/CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce