NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A recent study from Standford University shows Latinos have become the fastest-growing small business owners across the U.S.
The study shows over the past 10 years, the number of Latino business owners grew 34% compared to 1% for all business owners in the United States.
It also reveals that more Latinos than ever are applying for small business loans to launch or grow their operations.
Yuri Cunza, president of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, says there is an estimated 1,500 Hispanic businesses in Nashville alone.
"If you think about the lack of job opportunity, a family needs to be creative to generate income and that may be a small business enterprise," Cunza said. "When you have to feed your family you have to make it work, there is no plan b, no other option."
Perla Salas has owned Perlita's Fashion in South Nashville for about nine years.
Salas is originally from Mexico. She opened this small business to provide for herself and her family.
She says it was her upbringing that taught her how to be a strong business owner. Ever since she was a little girl, Salas says her family worked hard to make ends meet. She says if your livelihood rides on your business, you'll give it everything you've got.
"I don't ever forget where I'm from," said Salas, "I'm proud to be a part of this community and show them that we can do it."
In addition, the Stanford study found Latino-owned businesses contributed about $500 billion to the economy in annual sales.