WIP Arturo Cazares

‘For Latino entrepreneurship, we’re building the ecosystem that Latinos have always deserved, but maybe we haven’t always enjoyed’

A conversation with Arturo Cázares, CEO, Latino Business Action Network

In this episode of Work in Progress, I’m joined by Arturo Cázares, the CEO of the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), to talk about the rapid growth in Latino entrepreneurship in the United States and how empowering these businesses can help the entire economy. We sat down at the Aspen Latino Business Summit in Washington, D.C. in September.

Latino-owned businesses, or LOBs, are making a significant contribution to our economy. In the last 10 years, Latinos created half the new companies in the U.S. Currently, there are more than five million LOBs, generating $800 billion in revenue, and creating jobs.

Cázares says that contribution could be even bigger if we could unlock more opportunity. He says that these businesses have the potential add another $3 trillion in revenue by 2030, if the entrepreneurs had more access to capital and a stronger network of support for starting and scaling up their companies.

That’s where the Latino Business Action Network comes in. Its mission is to empower Latino entrepreneurship. Its partner is Stanford University through the jointly led and supported Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) within the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

SLEI is described as “an opportunity designed for U.S. Latino business owners who generate more than $1 million in annual gross revenues or have raised at least $500,000 of external funding. This nine-week immersive program provides business owners with education, enhanced networks, personal mentorship, and a better understanding of how to access and manage capital to scale their businesses.”

Here is some of what Cázares tells me about the work LBAN is doing.

“The way that I phrase it is for Latino entrepreneurship, we’re building the ecosystem that Latinos have always deserved, but maybe we haven’t always enjoyed because of the other challenges in our society.

“Almost 1,100 Latina and Latino business owners and founders have gone through our program across the country. That ecosystem includes banks, VCs, angel investors, and a bunch of other organizations that we need to have a truly robust supportive ecosystem. Our ecosystem will include people like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and all of these large organizations.

“As we build that ecosystem for ourselves, that ecosystem really is for everyone because we want even Latinos to examine how they’re doing things. They’re founders. You’re a gatekeeper by default. You’re deciding who to hire, who to partner with. So, if you can think about those processes better and think about all those things that used to keep us out – but now you do it a little better for everyone – that’s opening up the economy for everyone, that’s creating the ecosystem for the country that everyone needs.

“Stated in the mission, our purpose is to grow the American economy, but it’s through this Latino lens of entrepreneurship. We’re empowering Latino entrepreneurship, but the ultimate goal is to grow the American economy for everyone. We’re in this country, we want to be a full part of it, and we want the whole country to prosper.”

You can hear the full podcast with Arturo Cázares here on this page, or download it wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode 293: Arturo Cázares, CEO, Latino Business Action Network (LBAN)
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch and Melissa Panzer
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4
Download the transcript for this podcast here.
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