Hispanic-Owned Companies Take off; Increase at Three Times National Average

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 22, 2006 | Go to article overview

Hispanic-Owned Companies Take off; Increase at Three Times National Average


Byline: Jen Haberkorn, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. is climbing three times faster than the national average for all businesses, according to Census Bureau figures released yesterday.

Hispanics owned almost 1.6 million companies in 2002, a 31 percent jump from five years earlier. By comparison, the total number of U.S. firms rose 10 percent to nearly 23 million companies.

The Washington-Baltimore area has the seventh-largest population of Hispanic-owned businesses in the country, with 32,412 companies. They brought in $5.4 billion in sales in 2002.

Fairfax County has the most Hispanic companies in Virginia - 7,302 - and is home to 11 of the top 500 Hispanic businesses in the country. Another nine are elsewhere in Virginia, eight are in Maryland and four are in the District. Prince William County has the fifth-fastest growing population of Hispanic businesses in the nation.

Jorge Restrepo, a Washington native born to Colombian parents, in 2003 opened Eureka Facts LLC, a Rockville marketing research and analysis firm. He said the growth of Hispanic-owned business is only beginning.

"In Maryland, because the growth is so high, half of the [Hispanic-owned] businesses are five years old or less," said Mr. Restrepo, who is also the president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County. "I have seen tremendous growth."

The growth of Hispanic-owned businesses, which make up about 7 percent of all U.S. companies, can be linked to the climbing Hispanic population. Between 2000 and 2004, the percentage of Hispanics in the United States rose from 12.5 percent to 14.2 percent.

Today, about one in every 10 employed people is Hispanic. By 2050, it's projected that one in every four will be Hispanic.

"The Hispanic population is the fastest-growing - now the largest - minority group in the country," Mr. Restrepo said. "In the Washington area, we have a very stable economy. If offered a business opportunity, there is fertile ground to grow."

Security One Bank, which is scheduled to open in Baileys Crossroads next month, has at least two Hispanic professionals on its board of directors and plans to target Hispanic business owners. …

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