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EXIM Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with Small Business Resources
September 15, 2023 Jane Lemons, Business Development Specialist

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Export-Import Bank of the United States joins in celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

To honor that legacy, EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis is presenting a special message from EXIM to celebrate Hispanic American Heritage Month.

“During Hispanic Heritage Month, the nation honors the remarkable history and culture of Hispanic Americans, whose immense contributions helped build this country,” Chair Lewis said. “Here at the Export-Import Bank of the United States, we want to take a moment to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have influenced and enriched our nation and our society.”

EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. You also can view her message here.

"Phenomenal" Opportunities for Hispanic-Owned Businesses

At 63.7 million, people of Hispanic origin comprise the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority — 19.1 percent of the total population, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. In addition, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses is increasing. The Census Bureau found that in 2019:

  • There were 4.5 million total Hispanic-owned businesses, including both employer and nonemployer businesses.
  • Those businesses accounted for an estimated $619.8 billion in annual receipts.

“The opportunity for Hispanic-owned businesses in this country is phenomenal. As you know, the Hispanic population has grown at a tremendous rate,” said J.R. Gonzales, Executive Vice Chair of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce and a member of EXIM’s Council on Small Business.

Exporting helped National Drug Source of Concord, North Carolina, expand its customer base and tap into opportunities outside the United States, said Ethel Torres, CEO & President. The minority- and woman-owned company has been using EXIM’s Export Credit Insurance since 2013, and currently 100% of its sales are export-related.

She recommends that other small businesses also consider exporting: “I say to all of the Latinos out there — you can definitely do this. And I encourage each one of them to do it because they have a very good foundation to be able to understand the nuances of international business in terms of relationships that are established, that are forged.”

EXIM has a team of specialists to help achieve that goal. To help spread the word about EXIM financing to underserved communities, EXIM’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Division (MWOB) works closely with organizations that have a minority trade focus to create opportunities for U.S. companies that are owned by minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community along with rural and startup businesses.

Commemorating Hispanic Heritage

The annual event began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, then it and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

The observance starts on September 15, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The designated period is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence September 16 and September 18, respectively.

In proclaiming National Hispanic Heritage Month, President Joe Biden honored the diverse history of generations of Latinos, whose aspirations and achievements have shaped the soul of the nation.

“I have often said that America can be defined in one word: possibilities. The Hispanic community has always embodied that ideal,” President Biden said. “It lives in the dreams of those who have only just arrived here and in the legacy of families who have been here for centuries. Latinos have helped chart America’s course since our start — as doctors and engineers; artists and entrepreneurs; and leaders in science, business, labor, government, and military and across grassroots movements. Their faith and drive have pushed our country to grow, prosper, and pursue its highest ideals.”

To find out how EXIM can help your business compete in the global marketplace, schedule a free consultation with a member of the MWOB team and launch your export journey today.

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.